What You Pay For by Claire Askew

Claire Askew's new novel is an intriguing and brilliant dive into the more interesting questions and spaces of crime fiction

Book Review by Heather McDaid | 27 Aug 2019
  • What You Pay For
Book title: What You Pay For
Author: Claire Askew

Charlie went missing fourteen years ago. This incident inspired DI Birch to join the police, with hopes of finding her little brother and seeking justice where her family had been denied. After all this time, he’s presumed dead. But he’s not.

Intertwining Charlie’s story as he falls into the seedy world of crime, and Birch’s role in taking down Solomon and his gang (one of the country’s most feared criminal organisations), What You Pay For is an exploration of how one wrong turn can take you down a dark and spiralling road, and the consequences when all sides of your life collide at once.

The strength of Askew’s crime series has been that it doesn’t focus on the crime itself. Like her debut, we know who they’re after and why, and that’s what sets it apart. She probes at the more interesting questions: Why? How did they end up here? What impact can split second decisions have across years?

It’s in this liminal space she thrives – between the facts of the crime and the return of Charlie, the uncertainty and grey areas – and really hooks in the reader. It’s a story that steps behind the case facts – you won’t agree with every decision, but you’ll certainly feel every ounce of the character’s journey. Intriguing and brilliant. 

Hodder, 22 Aug, £16.99