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by Anne Perry
Ballantine Books, March 2006
320 pages
ISBN: 0345469291

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

William Monk has joined the River Police to honor a dying friend's request. He is not sure he has made the right decision as he has an authority problem, but this job means he and his wife Hester have enough money to live on. While on patrol, he witnesses an argument between a young couple. Somehow the couple plummets off their bridge to their deaths.

As Monk witnesses this event from below, he did not see what happened clearly. He cannot tell if the woman was pushed and grabbed her attacker in revenge or if she jumped and accidentally took the man with her.

The dead woman is Mary Havilland. The man is her ex-fiance. Recently, Mary's father was discovered dead: an apparent suicide. Her father had been investigating the new city-sponsored sewer system for faults. He believed that an accident was imminent and would be deadly. Unfortunately, no one believed him.

The police decided that this obsession caused him to kill himself. Mary believed her father was murdered. Regardless of the fact the police could not find any suspicion of foul play; Mary refused to give up. Up until her death, she had been following in her father's footsteps to prove her father's death was murder and that the construction of the sewer system was unstable.

Monk finds himself unwilling to believe that a woman with this much passion for truth would kill herself. Even though murders are not something the River Police are responsible for investigating, Monk feels he has to solve Mr Havilland's death in order to make sense of Mary's.

The murder investigation in DARK ASSASSIN has Monk forced to interact with his old enemy, Runcorn. These two men have had a bad relationship for years, but Mary's death forces them to put aside their grudges. By working with Runcorn, Monk demonstrates his own personal growth. When this series began, the idea of these men sharing an investigation seemed unlikely. Now, this development seems reasonable and realistic. With each new book, Monk continues to grow as a character by overcoming the flaws of the past.

William Monk is the protagonist of the series, yet Hester plays a valuable role in criminal cases as well. Her own investigation into Mary's murder and her concern about a possible accident by the sewer construction workers gives the book a different perspective than Monk's. As a nurse, Hester has the ability to view the world and fit into society in a way Monk never can. Hester's common sense and strong sense of presence make her a character to admire and follow throughout this series.

Reviewed by Sarah Dudley, June 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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