Someone is watching Gillian Ward. Actually, several someones, each with a different agenda, some of them creepy, one of them lethal.
As befits the object of so much scrutiny, Gillian emerges only gradually to a leading role. She’s first glimpsed as the perfect wife and partner of London tax and business consultant Tom Ward and the mother whose 12-year-old daughter, Becky, is convinced she’s horrible. By the time Gillian surrenders to the amatory overtures of John Burton, a disgraced former Scotland Yard detective who runs a private security firm and coaches Becky’s tennis team, Hackney divorcée Carla Roberts and retired Tunbridge Wells physician Anne Westley have already been killed in strikingly similar ways, bound with duct tape and smothered with towels shoved down their throats. As Burton’s mortal enemy, DI Peter Fielder, and Fielder's lust object, DS Christy McMorrow of the Metropolitan Police, labor to unearth a connection between the two women, Link keeps cutting away to Samson Segal, a deliveryman forced by unemployment to share the home of his brother and sister-in-law. Samson’s never had a date, and given the way he treats women, he never will. But he can’t take his eyes off Gillian. He follows her around the neighborhood they share, dreaming of getting her to notice him. Soon after their one run-in turns out disastrously, Tom is shot dead by a gun linked to Anne Westley’s murder. What else can go wrong for Gillian? Quite a bit, it turns out.
Link (The Other Child, 2013) switches so deftly among her different characters’ viewpoints that the web she weaves is tinged by an exceptionally powerful sense of miasmal paranoia. Only the hyperextended last act, plunging her damsel into a much more traditional kind of distress, is a letdown.