Butterfly grave by Anne Cassidy

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The Murder Notebooks, bk 3. Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 9781408815526.
(Age: 13+) Crime. Thriller. Murder. The third book in The Murder Notebooks, following Dead time and Killing Rachel, finds Rose and Joshua travelling with their friend Skeggsie to Newcastle because Joshua's Uncle Stuart has been injured in a fall from a cliff. Both Rose and Joshua's parents had disappeared 5 years earlier in an undercover police operation and when they find themselves living near each other in London, the pair decide to hunt for their missing parents. Their stay in Newcastle is fraught - Joshua is convinced that they are being followed, the murder notebooks are stolen and their meddling leads to an awful conclusion. Even Uncle Stu seems to have a secret, dark past. Someone is out to stop them finding their parents, but who is it?
The emotional toll that his Uncle's accident and other dire incidents have on Joshua is one of the main themes in Butterfly Grave. Joshua begins to realise that the actions that he and Rose are taking can have dreadful consequences and that their search for their parents is very perilous, not just for them but for the people who are nearest to them. Rose finds it very difficult to cope with Joshua's feelings, but they do grow closer together in their attempts to work out what is happening around them.
More clues are revealed in Butterfly Grave about what is going on and Rose and Joshua are still determined to find their parents, even though they have been warned off. Obviously reading the novels in sequence would be preferable, but I found that Cassidy gave enough background information for the reader new to the series to work out what was happening and to remind readers of the previous books of the story. The last chapters are taut and the ending is sure to encourage readers to get the next in the series, Dead buried, when it is published.
This is a well written, suspenseful book that lovers of crime and thrillers will enjoy.
Pat Pledger