How many murders gussied up to look like suicides can a killer get away with before DI Bill Slider catches on?
The bathroom was very tidy. No great spurts of arterial blood. No water sloshed on the tiles. The naked body showed no signs of struggle. Still, something didn’t seem quite right, and it wasn’t. The victim was left-handed, but the fatal gash had been made by a right-handed person. Who was the dead bloke? There was no wallet, no papers and no cellphone to identify him. His neighbors barely knew him, and the name he gave them, Robin Williams, was surely an alias. Once Slider, Atherton and the rest of the crew at the Shepherd’s Bush nick start showing his picture around, they soon discover that his hair dye job was recent. So were his tattoo and his stint in a porn video. Furthermore, for some reason, he bought an out-of-print recording by a group called Breaking Wave that brings sex, drugs and rock-and-roll into the investigation. There’ll be several more bodies, most like the first—neat kills made to appear as suicides—but with drugs in their system, and a late-night come-on from a mysterious lady. Who was she—someone from Robin’s distant past as a pop star and music journalist, from his recent past as a disco bartender, or from his current life, which includes dancing school? Using Atherton as bait, the coppers plan to inveigle the perp to try one more murder in the hope of catching him in the act.
Between his love Joanna’s grouchiness, his superior’s lack of patience, and the case’s seamier byways and drug-addled persons of interest, it’s not the easiest of times for Slider (Kill My Darling, 2012, etc.), but most readers will want to spend even these dour moments with him.