On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.
In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.
Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.
It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.
In a remote part of the Cairngorm mountains, a man carefully buries the body of the young woman he has recently killed. He takes his time, is almost ritualistic about it, leaving clues as he goes. He doesn’t want to get caught but he does want the police to know who his victim is. It’s all part of his plan.
In this pretty much perfect opening to Perfect Remains, we meet Dr. King – serial kidnapper and killer and man on a mission, though what that mission is isn’t yet clear. As King is introduced in chapter five, I don’t feel I’m giving away too much naming him but am going to stop there to avoid spoilers – this book is such a good one I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who wants to read it.
What I will say is that, whilst I don’t normally like books that tell me who did it so early on (I like to do the guessing), here it worked and didn’t bother me at all. King is such a big character and his actions so off that I still felt there was plenty to discover. I really wanted to know what had led him to this point and what he would do next, especially as the police net closed around him and his best laid plans didn’t go quite the way he thought they would. It makes the book a bit more of a “why-dunnit” versus “who-dunnit” then for the reader. Not so much for the police though, who are at a loss as to who the killer is, who his next victim will be and why they are his victims.
Leading the case is DI Luc Callanach, a man with a past. Formerly of Interpol, he has left his native France under a cloud, hoping to settle in the chillier climates of Edinburgh (one of my favourite settings for books). His new life is not without problems, not just because there is a killer on the loose – his new team are wary of him, bordering on resentful, he has anger issues and his past seems to be catching up with him.
Callanach is an interesting and powerful character, one I started off not liking but who grew on me – what is it they say about a bark being worse than a bite? His attitude could easily have overpowered the story but thankfully it was tempered by another DI, Ava Turner who is equally as powerful but more grounded, able to pull Luc back when he goes too far. Ava isn’t his partner – she has her own case which runs parallel to Luc’s – but they make a good team, bouncing off each other to solve problems.
As characters, they are well written and well developed, just what you want in a book and impressive not only because this is the first in a series but also because it is a debut (well, kind off, Fields has self-published two fantasy novels before this was picked up). This is a great read – the book is well written and well plotted with good pace – it kept me turning pages well into the night and, like my first read this week (Evil Games by Angela Marsons) there really isn’t anything I could say I would change. I loved this one and can’t wait for the next in the series.
Publication Date: 26th January, 2017
Genre: Crime, Mystery