The Health of Strangers – Lesley Kelly

If her country needed her to fight the Virus, she wasn’t going to say no. Especially if it was going to look good on her CV as well.

Mona has recently been assigned to work in the Health Enforcement Team—a sideways move from her previous role in the CID. In post-viral Edinburgh, ensuring that no one misses their Health Check is a top priority. But this doesn’t make it a satisfying job. With pubs, night clubs and all mass gatherings shut down in an effort to control the spread of the Virus, Edinburgh’s citizens are resentful of the authorities. Young people are sceptical and, as a result, are missing their Health Checks in droves. Rounding them up is about as easy as herding cats, especially given how ineffectual and under motivated Mona’s colleagues are. Between Bernard’s reeling off facts and figures and Maitland’s arrogant posturing, it’s a wonder the Virus hasn’t killed more people than it has.

When a doctor working for the German government arrives in their office to report that Heidi Weber—an 18-year-old, German national and student at Edinburgh University—is missing, Mona is certain there’s more to this than concern over a missed Health Check. To get to the bottom of it, and ensure the health and well-being of Edinburgh’s residents, she and her team will go head-to-head with drug dealers, cult leaders and the very ill.

I enjoyed Kelly’s debut novel, A Fine House in Trinity and so was delighted when I was asked to review her latest offering. As with her first novel, the characters in The Health of Strangers are well drawn, benefitting from Kelly’s skills of observation and her empathy for the underdog in society. The Health of Strangers is as humorous and quirky as it is insightful and observant.

The Health of Strangers is published by Sandstone Press and is available from Amazon and all good bookshops.


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