DCI Eve West’s murky past threatens what should be a bright future.
During all the years Eve rose steadily through the ranks of London’s homicide squad, territory usually reserved for male officers, she kept at bay the personal demons that robbed her of sleep and kept secret her string of forbidden affairs with subordinates. But her career threatens to go pear-shaped when she and DS Jason Scott are ambushed during a stakeout. Not only is Scott her latest lover, but his death disrupts a nearly completed undercover operation by the Met’s drug team. Eve fears she’s done for until a ray of hope emerges from an unexpected quarter. John Duran, a coldblooded killer Eve locked up years ago, reaches out to her from Bellevue Prison, offering to trade evidence that could exonerate her for her help. Duran wants Eve to team up with Dan Cooper, a journalist who runs a seat-of-the pants operation called 4Justice, to reinvestigate the 10-year-old murder of Jane McNeil, a young horsewoman who worked for the late Tim Michaels at Westerby Racing. Duran claims he’s only interested in justice for fellow inmate Sean Farrell, who was convicted of Jane’s murder. Eve questions both Duran’s motives and Cooper’s capabilities, but pursuing this inquiry seems the only possibility of salvaging her career. As she sets up housekeeping at the Westerby compound, she learns more than she wants about the intense world of horse racing and about the rich, mercurial Michaels clan, which includes Eve’s first ever lover, Gavin Challis, now an MP married to Tim’s daughter, Melissa Michaels. Will Eve’s inquiry free her to move forward or plunge her back into a past she’s struggled to forget?
Forbes (Jigsaw Man, 2015, etc.) offers a sharp puzzle as well as a brisk look at the colorful world of racing before getting bogged down in a needlessly complex solution.