Race to the KillIt’s always a little sad to discover a new author after he or she has died.

Even more sad when the author is just 52 and has only two other books to her name.

Of course, there’s the sympathy one feels as one woman to another one feels for anyone who dies so young.

But, there’s also the rather selfish sorrow that there will be no more stories from a writer whose work has become synonymous with Yorkshire.

So it is with Helen Cadbury, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and died in June this year, leaving behind a husband and two sons.

Yorkshire Post

Her first novel, To Catch a Rabbit, which introduced PC Sean Denton, won the inaugural Northern Crime Competition when it was published in 2013.

Two years later it was named by the Yorkshire Post as one of  ’13 books that define Yorkshire best’.

In the same year Helen published Bones in the Nest, second Sean Denton thriller, which in 2016 was selected as a Read Regional title by New Writing in the North.


And just a few days ago, on September 21, the final book by Helen Cadbury Race to the Kill was published by Allison and Busby.

It seems shocking that I’d never heard of Helen before – after all, the Sean Denton books are set in Doncaster not far from my neck of the woods.

And she studied for an MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University where I taught journalism for 20 years.

One way and another, though, her books had passed me by.

Tense and gripping

Better late than never though – and Race to the Kill  is as good an introduction to her work as any.

It’s a tense and gripping murder mystery that begins in the middle of a long night shift for PC Sean Denton and his partner PC Gavin Wentworth.

They stop at a petrol station where they are approached by a dishevelled-looking woman desperate they follow her.

She leads them to the old Chasebridge High School where they find the dead body of a Syrian refugee.

The investigation which points to the neighbouring greyhound stadium finds Denton caught up in a world of immigration, drugs and sexual abuse, and one in which his private life becomes increasingly entwined.


It’s difficult to say much more without giving away plot spoilers.

But the ending is a complete surprise.

And the journey to get there was an enjoyable one.

What more can one ask?

RIP Helen Cadbury.

Review by Sue Featherstone.

Available to buy on Amazon.