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by Neil White
Avon, June 2011
464 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 1847561292

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A woman is found dead in an area of woodland popular with dog walkers. The body is naked, and dirt and leaves have been crammed into every orifice. A postmortem reveals she died of strangulation. The details are chillingly familiar to those of another woman found dead three weeks earlier. At first there seems to be no connection between the two women. One is the daughter of a policeman, the other is the daughter of a man on the fringes of the criminal underworld,. But freelance reporter Jack Garrett is determined to find a connection and so is his girlfriend. Detective Sergeant Laura McGanity.

Jack's investigation brings him into close contact with Don Roberts, a man whose business interests take him into such dubious areas as wheel clamping, providing bouncers for clubs and sketchy security work that bears a close resemblance to a protection racket. Roberts is a man who is used to getting what he wants, and in this case, what he wants is information. While Laura and her colleagues are still looking for a connection between the murdered women, the killer raises the stakes by making contact direct with Jack and very soon, everything starts to get too close to home for comfort, for both of them.

White once again explores the growing tensions between his main characters, but never allows this to bog the story down. Laura McGanity is convincingly portrayed as a woman having difficulty balancing the demands of her job, her relationship and her child. Garrett is a man who works best when he's up against a deadline; he's dogged in his pursuit of a story but never descends into stereotype. I was pleased to see the return of Detective Joe Kinsella and I liked his development throughout the book. White does a good job of concealing the identity of the killer without making the passages written from his perspective seem too contrived, which is an easy trap to fall into when trying not to give away names.

The narrative is briskly paced, told in clear, concise language, and the final scenes when Jack is faced with a chilling dilemma are well drawn. These are characters whose progress I'll be happy to continue to follow.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, June 2011

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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