A unique pair of thrill killers test the mettle and resources of the London police.
In her second outing (The Dead Sit Round in a Ring, 2004), Detective Sergeant Stella Mooney is roused from the recurring nightmare of her dead child to investigate the murder of beautiful, high-living Janis Parker, discovered in her Notting Hill Gate flat days after death. Colleagues at Imago, the fashion magazine where Janis worked, thought she was in Morocco scouting locations. Suspecting a drug connection, Stella follows this lead with the help of Daz, a strung-out informant. She ventures recklessly onto dangerous turf and is forced to kill a would-be attacker in self-defense but tells no one—not her superiors or her live-in lover George or even Anne Beaumont, her therapist. (She’s also not told George or her co-workers about sessions with Anne.) Stella’s chief topics in therapy are her floundering relationship with stolid George and her attraction to edgy crime reporter John Delaney. As she methodically follows fruitless leads in Janis’s murder—her roommate Stephanie and a philandering boyfriend Mark—more victims surface, attractive young women ritualistically killed and perhaps videotaped. Stella turns to Anne for confidential profiling help. Chapters from the perspective of the killers, the sadomasochistic Donna and Sonny, are folded into the narrative as Stella and her team get closer to a solution.
Lawrence’s stylish, intelligent prose and complex characters mark him as a rising star.