A British detective’s much-needed vacation turns into a nightmare.
Devastated by the death of his former lover Anna Barham, DI Tom Mariner seeks relief in a walking tour of Wales. He doesn’t know that Glenn McGinley has the same plan, though with a different motive. After a killing spree, Glenn wants to complete a mission of revenge. Mariner’s more specific purpose is to revisit the hostel where he stayed as a younger man. To his amazement, Elena Hughes, the daughter of the hostel’s owner, still lives there and remembers their long-ago romance fondly enough to let Mariner stay at the hostel, along with an inept fellow hiker. A long lull in which nothing much happens ends with the death of a young man working at a nearby organic farm and a murder in which Mariner is a suspect. As if a case of stolen identity, a robbery at Mariner’s house back in Birmingham, and a plot point that turns on a couple of parsnips, and nearly adds Mariner to the growing pile of bodies, weren’t enough, holdovers from previous cases add to the sudden change from calm to chaos. However, a counterbalance to the blood and betrayal is the hope of romance and a satisfying resolution of Anna’s legacy to Mariner, for whom you really want something to go right.
Collett (Stalked by Shadows, 2009, etc.) struggles to balance a grieving hero, a mass murderer and a travelogue of Wales in an unevenly paced narrative.