A prostitute’s murder reunites a detective and a forensic specialist in this gritty procedural debut.
When Nick Fennimore, a science professor in Scotland, gets a phone call from Kate Simms, part of him wants to tell her she has the wrong number. Five years ago, they worked together when he was a member of the National Crime Faculty and she was a promising detective sergeant. Their collaboration ended when he dragged her into a personal case, heedless of the fact that it would derail her career. Now he feels nothing but guilt, even though Kate has worked her way up to the rank of detective chief inspector with the Manchester police. She asks Nick—failed genetics student, successful gambler, former scene of crime officer, toxicology expert—to analyze statistics about a recent upsurge in female deaths from heroin overdose. Together, they discover that the spike in deaths began just about the time of Operation Snowstorm, when the police seized heroin worth £4.5 million. Now, dealers are forced to cut their product with a substance that’s sending users into fatal shock, including a young woman with her face beaten to a pulp. The more Kate learns about the latest victim, the more determined she is to put a face back on her and find her killer, though her bosses would rather write off the case as just one more dead prostitute. But Kate won’t let it go. Nick is struggling with his own issues, but he agrees to act as her unauthorized consultant, even though their teamwork could cost her her job. When they confront the killer, they both find out how much more they’re risking to bring justice to the dead.
The pseudonymous pair who write as Garrett skillfully weave just enough of the crime-solving partners’ past and hints about a more hopeful future to add even more suspense to the fast-paced plot.