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by Tania Carver
Sphere, September 2012
480 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0751545201

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Things just seem to get worse for DI Phil Brennan and his wife, criminal psychologist, Marina Esposito. Their lives are ripped apart when an arsonist targets the cottage in which they are staying with their baby daughter and Phil's adoptive parents. To make matters worse, there is no sign of what has happened to his daughter. After the attack she is nowhere to be found. Phil is in a medically induced coma, so is blissfully unaware that his wife had just received a phone call telling her she must do whatever the caller says or she'll never see her beloved Josephina again. With her daughter's life at stake, Marina doesn't hesitate. She steals a car and goes on the run.

Marina's colleagues in the police force are forced to consider the possibility that she might have been in some way complicit in the attack on the cottage, although no one really wants to believe that, least of all DC Anni Hepburn and DS Mickey Phillips, whose loyalty to Phil Brennan, and by extension, his wife, is pretty unshakeable, but even their loyalty is taxed in a narrative full of the usual grisly twists and turns that has come to characterize the writing team of Martyn Waites and his wife, Linda Waites, who publish under the pseudonym of Tania Carver. Larger than life characters are handled convincingly, even the huge, grey-skinned killer nicknamed The Golem, and humanizing him is no mean feat.

The reason behind the kidnapping of Phil and Marina's daughter is an intriguing one and nothing in this book is entirely what it seems, so I defy anyone to work out quite what is going on too early. There were times when I felt that the plot or I as a reader was in danger of being lost in some possibly unnecessary levels of complexity, but despite that, I managed to stay on board. The authors' strength lie in some good, solid background characters, including DS Jessica James, a woman thoroughly sick of the inevitable cowboy jokes, who make the police procedural aspects believable. No anachronistic references to WPCs mar this narrative. Exposition is also kept to a minimum, which helps to maintain the pace through the closing chapters of the book. This series is establishing itself very nicely in the 'must read' category.

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, July 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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