NOBODY TO CALL
With a mother unfit for purpose and a brother who despises her, working girl Amber can rely on no one but herself – until the meanest pimp in Manchester, Kevin Pike, offers her his protection. Unfortunately, this attracts the fury of Cora, a prostitute no one wants to get on the wrong side of…
NOWHERE TO HIDE
When Cora is found strangled to death, the late-night city streets feel increasingly exposed with a killer on the loose. And as Amber grows closer to Kevin, she realises his security comes at a price she might not be willing to pay…
NOTHING TO LOSE
Amber is frozen in fear, knowing one wrong move will risk her life. But then she discovers a horrifying secret that forces her to choose: stay or run?
I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus – Aria and Aries via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Book four in The Working Girls series is a haunting and tragic story.
All the books in this series are a unique mix of gritty and poignant, but as Amber is a victim of child abuse and child sexual abuse, this is difficult to read and hard to forget. Sensitively written with a focus on the emotional damage abuse causes, this book focuses on the victims.
The dual timeline story moves from the early 1990s when Amy is a little girl through to her teenage years and closer to the present day when Amber is a working girl. The plot is fast-paced as Amy’s life gradually becomes Amber’s. The characters, some new, and a few familiar faces are relatable, and after a climactic conclusion, there is a positive ending.
This is an edgy and poignant series that explores urban crime in Manchester.
Heather Burnside spent her teenage years on one of the toughest estates in Manchester and she draws heavily on this background as the setting for many of her novels.
After taking a career break to raise two children Heather enrolled on a creative writing course. Heather now works full-time on her novels from her home in Manchester, which she shares with her two grown-up children.
Extract from Amber – Heather Burnside
Amy wanted to run through the rooms just one more time. She loved their home in Cheadle. It was big and cosy with a garden that went all the way round. Her grandparents said that was because it was detached, and it was in a good area too. She’d spent many happy hours in the playroom with her friends or in the sprawling back garden on the swing, slide and climbing frame.
She was going to miss it, but her mother had promised her that the house they were moving to was also very nice. It wasn’t as big as this one and they would only have room for the swing in the garden but nevertheless her mother was going to make sure that it was just as cosy.
She had also told Amy and Nathan that their friends could come and visit them in the new house, and that they’d probably make new friends too. Amy enjoyed playing with her friends and knew that she was going to miss them, but she felt better knowing that they would be welcome anytime.
At the top of the stairs she turned and walked into her old bedroom, clutching her favourite teddy bear, Barney. Her bedroom was at the back of the house and overlooked the garden with its neat lawns and pretty flowers. Amy caught a glimpse of the slide and the climbing frame that would be left behind, and she felt sad. But she tried not to cry, knowing she had promised her mother she would be a brave girl when they had to leave their nice home.
‘Come on, Barney,’ she said, addressing her teddy bear. ‘Don’t cry. We’ve got to be brave for Mummy. The men have put my bed in the van, and I’ll tuck you up nice and warm in it when we get to the new house.’
The garden was now devoid of the picturesque planters that her mother had lovingly nurtured. They were inside the big van that was parked outside the front of their house. Many of their belongings were also inside and as Amy walked through the empty bedrooms, she could hear the echo of her footsteps.
Next, she walked into her mother’s bedroom and looked out of the window at the men who were busy carrying boxes from the kitchen. She spotted her friend, Maisie, with her mother, hovering at the edge of the garden, and Amy let out an excited squeal. She ran down the stairs, eager to see Maisie one last time before she had to leave.
‘Maisie,’ she shouted enthusiastically as she sped out of the front door, dodging one of the men who was carrying a box full of kitchen utensils. ‘We’re going to our new house today.’
Maisie smiled. ‘I know. My mummy told me. She said we can come to see you off.’
Amy held up her teddy bear. ‘Barney’s coming too. He’s really happy.’ She held up her teddy bear and addressed him. ‘Aren’t you, Barney?’ She moved his head to indicate a nod.
‘What other toys are you taking?’ asked Maisie and for a few minutes they chatted animatedly until Amy’s mother, Loretta, drew their attention. ‘Come on, Amy. It’s time to go.’
‘Aw, Mummy,’ complained Amy. ‘Can I stay for a bit longer? Can Maisie come and play in the garden for a bit? The slide and climbing frame are still there.’
‘No, Amy,’ said her mother. ‘The men are finished now. We need to go.