Reviewer: JJ Marsh
What we thought: A classy take on the British police procedural, whose shine comes from layered characterisation, a tightly woven plot, in-depth research and local knowledge. The fact this is the first of a series is another cause to smile.
Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer's been transferred from London to Aylesbury. Not far in terms of distance but a world away from what she's used to. Dan Baines, who's been holding the fort, is effectively demoted to make room. Police politics aside, each is shadowed by an event in the past which left its mark - one more visible than the other.
If Archer expected the pace to be slower in the 'country', she gets a nasty shock. Someone is on a murder spree with a very unpleasant choice of weapon.
Tension cranks up as the two officers put aside their personal problems and their pasts to find connections. Those connections begin to show that someone out there is doing precisely the opposite.
Taut writing, a broad and vivid setting, appealing characters and a complex yet satisfying denouement all make this a thoroughly enjoyable page-turner. And if you enjoy following the characters over a series, there's more to come.
You’ll enjoy this if you liked: Elizabeth George's Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Gillian Hamer's Gold Detectives series and Val McDermid's Wire in the Blood
Avoid if you don’t like: Violence, British police stories, character focus
Ideal accompaniments: A pot of Lapsang Souchong, Gentleman's Relish on toast and Nick Cave's Red Right Hand
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