The death of somebody’s right-hand man is the latest challenge for DCI Bill Slider and his mates at Shepherd’s Bush police station.
Eli Sampson, the marginal West London car repairman who reports finding a body on his grounds only because he can’t think what else to do, swears that he’s never seen the man before, living or dead. And the condition of the corpse—sporting an expensive watch, lacking any more definite ID, and remarkably free of mud down to the soles of his shoes—gives his protestations some credence. So who is Leo King, as he's finally identified, who’s evidently left no one behind to mourn him except for freelance masseuse Shanice Harper? He was born Leon Kimmelman, but who was he when he died? Encouraged by Slider’s discovery of a thumb drive that had escaped someone's thorough tossing of Kimmelman’s flat—a drive containing video of Greater London Assemblyman Kevin Rathkeale disporting himself aboard a houseboat with a pair of male prostitutes and some high-value cocaine—the coppers at Shepherd’s Bush (Old Bones, 2017, etc.) question blandly evasive Charles Holdsworth, whose holding company owns the houseboat; his wife, Avril, who’s clearly afraid of something; charismatic Myra Silverman, whose work as CEO of KidZone brought her close together with Rathkeale in ways she must now bitterly regret; and locals who toss off dire hints about some huggermugger development in Davy Lane. Their questions seem to be bouncing off rubber walls until a sudden break in the case allows Slider to fit the pieces together and sets the stage for the tale’s most satisfying episode: a round-robin series of interrogations in which the sullen conspirators who took Kimmelman’s life and nearly took Slider’s too take turns pointing increasingly frantic fingers at each other.
Sex, drugs, blackmail, real estate. The results are never less than proficient, never more than routine.