Dead Man Driving by Lesley Kelly – Book Review

Dead Man Driving by Lesley Kelly – Book Review

Dead Man Driving by Lesley Kelly

Dead Man Driving
A Health of Strangers Book Five

I received a free copy of this book.
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Two years into a devastating flu pandemic, food shortages are critical. The streets are full of angry protestors objecting to the government’s proposed rationing.

Policing demonstrations is firmly outside the Health Enforcement Team’s remit, but that doesn’t stop their boss sending them in. As the threat escalates, the team find themselves being drawn into a government cover up, investigating a terrorist cell, and tugging at the threads of a global conspiracy.

As tensions rise throughout the city and the nation, the stakes have never been higher.

Review by Stacey

Dead Man Driving is the fifth book in The Health of Strangers series and the second book that I have read after Death at the Plague Museum which is number three in the series.

The books are set in the UK where a worldwide virus has caused an epidemic (the series was conceived before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic). We are two years on from when the virus was first identified and things have started to become very serious in terms of food shortages and rationing.

The Health Enforcement Team (HET) who are a mix of health workers and the police are tirelessly working around the clock trying to keep people safe, conduct medical checks, and stop the lawlessness that has occurred with people fed up with the way they are being treated. However, they now are needed to track down a lorry load of food that was meant for the V8 Ministers that has gone missing.

When I first read Death at the Plague Museum I hadn’t a clue what was happening due to not having read the previous two books, with this book through even though I had missed book four I knew the characters and what was happening so it made for easier reading and quicker enjoyment.

It felt quite strange reading about a virus epidemic when I’d lived through one and I’m not sure whether this made the story more or less enjoyable. It did have me comparing my knowledge of what occurred to the fictional story and wondering which government was handling the epidemic better – I’ll let you make your own minds up on that score.

The characters are easy to like (well mostly) and work perfectly with the plot. The storyline was enjoyable, fast-paced, and kept me intrigued and entertained from beginning to end.

I think the book might be a little hit and miss with some people still not wanting to read about pandemics and viruses so soon after lockdown restrictions were lifted which is a shame for the author who wrote this before before Covid, with plenty of accuracy to what actually happened too.

Overall, Dead Man Driving is a gripping thriller that held my attention throughout. It is well-written and contains plenty of dark moments alongside a lot of humour too. I do feel though that this can’t be read as a standalone and that you need to read the earlier books (or some of them) to understand and enjoy this one.

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Lesley Kelly

Lesley Kelly

Lesley has worked in the public and voluntary sector for the past twenty years, dabbling in poetry and stand-up comedy along the way.

She has won a number of writing competitions, including the Scotsman’s Short Story award in 2008. ‘A Fine House in Trinity’ was long-listed for the McIlvanney Award for the best Scottish crime novel in 2016.

She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and two sons.

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