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by Tania Carver
Sphere, September 2010
468 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0751542539

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A dead woman found mutilated beyond recognition on a lightship in Colchester Quay opens a new case for Tania Carver's DI Phil Brennan and his team from her previous novel, THE SURROGATE. This useless team of incompetent stereotypes immediately jump to the wrong conclusion regarding the victim's identity and continue on in that vein throughout the book until finally stumbling onto the guilty parties, barely managing to scrape through the investigation with their lives but not necessarily their careers intact.

On the same day as the body is found, a second woman wakes from a nightmare to find a Polaroid of herself, sleeping, pinned to the blinds, and a pair of her own knickers in the fridge. Within twenty-four hours, she has disappeared, her friend brutally murdered, and when she regains consciousness only to find herself sealed in a coffin, it's a good thing she doesn't know how inept the people tasked with her rescue really are.

Sexual deviance, personal tragedy and lies abound - and that's just the police officers investigating the murder. This mismatched team stumble from tenuous lead to tenuous lead, periodically striking lucky while being obviously sabotaged from within. Most of these characters are awful people no one would ever want to have a drink with, more concerned with their own personal issues than with the fates of those caught up in what turns out to be a wholly unbelievable crime.

The plot feels like a rehashed episode of CSI with additional twists and turns which add nothing to the story and seem to exist merely to make this book longer. I worked out who the bad guys were while the investigating team were busy sleeping with one another, fighting amongst themselves and generally putting less effort into solving the crime than climbing up the ladder towards the shoes of their hateful DCI.

It's a worrying outlook for innocent victims in Colchester if these are the people at the end of a 999 call. I would definitely consider moving house.

Madeleine Marsh is an aspiring writer who lives in the South West. She helps run sci-fi conventions and loves modern cinema.

Reviewed by Madeleine Marsh, August 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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