Life Ruins by Danuta Kot – Book Review

Life Ruins by Danuta Kot – Book Review



How can you save someone else… when you can’t even save yourself?

A body, briefly glimpsed at the bottom of an abandoned mineshaft, vanishes when the police investigate. Jared, recovering from an almost fatal injury and addicted to painkillers, knows he saw something terrible in that mine… but he has no evidence, and fears he’s losing his grip on reality.

A girl is attacked so savagely she can’t be identified, and dumped late at night in an isolated campground. She’s alive, but only just. Becca, tossed out of university and just let go from her dead-end job, is certain she knows who the victim is. But no one will believe her, and she can hardly even trust herself.

Kay, recently widowed and coming to terms with life on her own, suddenly finds herself forced to get involved. For years she and her husband fostered difficult children – including Becca, whom trouble follows like a stray puppy. And now Becca seems to be in the worst trouble of her life.

And then Jared and Becca meet. Becca, strong-minded and fiercely independent, is confident they can figure out what’s going on. She pulls Kay into the mix, knowing they’ll need all the help they can get… because the police don’t believe them. And more girls are vanishing.

Separately, Kay, Becca and Jared believe their lives have hit rock bottom. But drawn together under extraordinary circumstances, they’ll discover the strength to fight back… and ultimately rebuild their lives from the ruins.



Kay is foster mum to Becca. Becca works in a cafe at a drop in centre for the homeless, she hates it, loser in an overall !! But the youngsters trust her and she is good with them…..but when her past comes back to haunt her….just who wants her out of the way?

Jared, recovering from a 50 metre fall, in constant pain and addicted to pain pills, still has the craving for the danger of climbing, caving and tunnels…….when he visits a disused railway tunnel and nearly gets stuck, he panics, especially when he sees a face and flowers……at first he thinks it’s just a lack of oxygen….but soon realises there may be a body down there….

Circumstances bring Jared and Becca together as they try to find out where Paige is…..but this puts them and Kay in danger…..

The police don’t believe Becca, due to her previous troubles, and Jared is a bit questionable in their eyes….can they find the truth and survive?

Powerful and thought provoking. It highlights the problems faced by the homeless and the members of society on the fringe……how their previous issues colour the way they are treated……sometimes when you cry wolf….there really is a wolf!! I was hooked from start to finish….brilliant.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book  and this is my honest, unbiased review.


You can buy a copy here




Danuta Kot grew up with stories. Her Irish mother and her Polish father kept their own cultures alive with traditional tales they shared with their children. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront modern, urban society: poverty, alienation and social breakdown, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She has previously written under the names, Danuta Reah and Carla Banks. Danuta was also a former chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. She now works as a senior education consultant, work that involves travel to establish education and training in other parts of the world. She is a regular academic speaker at conferences and literary festivals, and has appeared on radio and television.


Praise for Life Ruins


‘A powerful, thought-provoking story, which perfectly evokes the bleak Yorkshire land- scape. Danuta’s crystal clear writing, whip-smart plotting and great characterisation make the book a vital read for any crime fan’ – Kate Rhodes, author of Hell Bay


‘Life Ruins has all the elements I love in a novel – complex characters, an insidious underlying menace, and haunting landscapes. This dark story will suck you in from the first page’ – Stephen Booth, author of Fall Down Dead


‘Explores real issues, from the perspective of real, damaged people, and told with a real warmth and understanding. Danuta Kot raises the bar for all crime writers’ – Mi-

chael Jecks, author of Pilgrim’s War

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