In a second adventure for a husband-and-wife detective team, the couple takes on underworld turf wars and a threat closer to home.
For DC Kathleen Doyle, courtship has come only after her secret marriage to her boss, DCI Michael Sinclair, also known as Lord Acton. Now she’s pregnant, and though she insists she’s a good Irish Catholic girl who waited for her wedding night, she knows her colleagues are ticking off the months on their fingers. Virtue rewarded means being Lady Acton with all the material perks. It also means being married to a man who has a neurotic fixation on her, is an acknowledged stalker, and suffers from violent outbursts and black moods she can best treat with trysts on the floor of their luxury flat and the desk of his office. Kathleen doesn’t need her gift for reading people to see that not everyone is as happy about the marriage as she is. Knowing she’s resented by at least one of her colleagues, she works hard to prove herself by investigating a series of tit-for-tat murders between an Irish terrorist group and Russian gangsters. As she struggles with a distressing loss, bouts of illness and the challenge of balancing her work with her marriage to a husband who’s also her supervisor, her devotion to Acton is almost a match for his. Indeed, the depth of her feeling causes her to make light of his questionable, creepy and sometimes-shocking ways of proving his love for her. And her sixth sense about who’s out to get her seems to desert her when she most needs it.
Although Cleeland (Murder in Thrall, 2013) writes with wit and flair, her attempt to bring freshness to the well-worn pairing of a naïve and penniless younger woman with a rich, brooding older man is more disturbing than romantic.