After a lovely Christmas and New Year break, DS Allie Shenton receives a not so lovely call to tell her the body of a middle aged man has been found dead on a local canal towpath. He has been stabbed to death. It’s not exactly the return to work Allie’d hoped for, especially when she arrives and finds the man, Mickey Taylor, is someone she knew, if only in passing and a long time ago.
He was more well known to her Detective Constable, Perry, who – four years older than Allie – went to school with Mickey. So too, it turns out, did Allie’s older sister Karen. Karen can’t tell her anything about Mickey, though, because she has brain damage after a brutal rape years earlier. Still, Allie can’t shake the feeling that somehow Mickey’s death is linked to Karen’s attack, especially when more school friends are also found murdered.
As a reader, you know from the beginning who the killer is and why, yet this didn’t spoil the story at all for me and I found it a real page turner – I read the book in just a couple of days, not wanting to put it down. It was interesting to watch the cat and mouse chase as the police desperately try to catch up with the killers intentions and figure out his next move.
Allie has a lot of natural instincts but they let her down a little here because of the link to Karen. Perry’s link to the victims also has an impact on his reading of the case, meaning he isn’t completely on his game all the time. This made both of them very real for me and I especially liked getting to know Perry more, who I admit not really remembering from the first book in this series, Taunting the Dead.
Like the first book, I really liked Allie and found her a rounder character here. There was less of Mark, her husband, and her marriage, which I have a feeling may be a trigger point in the future, especially as things seem to be developing around the story of Karen’s attack. Saying that, it’s quite nice to read about a police officer who isn’t a divorced alcoholic so I hope her relationship doesn’t go too astray.
Another thing I liked about this book was that it was set three years after the first one and that, in that time, Allie hasn’t had to investigate another murder. I don’t know why this struck me as much as it did but I suppose it goes back to the idea of the book feeling real. She and her team weren’t immune to the horror of the deaths. And, in reality, murders don’t happen every day, at least probably not in a place like Stoke.
Thankfully, however, it looks like there has been another one at least as there is a third book in this series – a book I have already bought because I loved Follow the Leader and can’t wait to read more about Allie and her team – highly recommended!