Meet Kate Daniels: the fictional detective who won't be stereotyped
03 September 2015
By Pan Macmillan
Kate Daniels is an enigmatic cop serving her community in the crime-ridden northeast. Her patch includes the dramatic, breathtaking, often harsh wilderness of Northumberland, a landscape unchanged for centuries that is as much a character as the locals.
A detective with soul and integrity, Kate struggles to make sense of the grim truths she unearths in Killing for Keeps
. Her driving force is bringing closure to families of homicide victims, even those who are members of a renowned criminal family. Nothing less will do. In order to survive the rigors of her job, she adopts a tough persona and blunt northern humour to fit in and negotiate the complexities of heading up a Major Incident Team (MIT).
In this novel – shadowed by trusted DS Hank Gormley – Kate is on the trail of some serious offenders who close ranks in order to deal with problems in their own misguided way. There are times in this book when her approach is unconventional. She’s not afraid to fly solo, beneath the radar of professional standards. When her questionable tactics land her in trouble, as they invariably do, she shields Hank from blame. In return, he offers unconditional friendship and loyalty. Their relationship is key to this crime series.
Kate is a risk-taker by nature, a hardworking, ambitious DCI. But with dreams come sacrifices. Hers are personal. She has something to prove to her father, an ex-miner who has taken her choice of profession as a betrayal. And that’s not all. She is hiding her true self. The fact that she’s gay doesn’t suit him either, even though she keeps it under wraps, disclosing her sexuality to him alone. She craves his approval and finds his overt condemnation hurtful and incomprehensible.
Her father is not the reason Kate has denied herself openness. A distressing encounter with a senior officer early in her career is an ever-present threat. It comes back to haunt her in book six of the series, already written but as yet unpublished. Throughout her career, Kate has seen other gay officers marginalized by vindictive, ambitious colleagues and witnessed their exclusion from the elite club that is the upper echelons of the police service, in a world dominated by men. She doesn’t want her sexuality to open up her career to negative scrutiny. She wants to be revered for her professionalism, not put down by gender stereotyping. Why should
this clever detective tell all? Her private life is simply that – no one’s business but her own.
Because she has something to hide, Kate is constantly on her guard. She buries herself in work as a diversion from a complicated home life, pushing herself to the extent that friends and loved ones worry she might just crack . . . life begins to unravel when she steps out of her comfort zone and into trouble in Killing for Keeps
while tracking an informant to North Yorkshire. What happens there shows her at the low point of her career, but on the trail of vicious killers she feels compelled to do whatever it takes to lock up the bad guys. Her inner struggle is the defining feature of this book. It shows her at her worst and her best, demonstrating the passion, drive and intelligence rooted in her DNA.