Twenty years ago in rural England, teenager Isla Bell found three murdered bodies near Hadrian’s Wall. Now a professor of criminal psychology, she has a chance to study the imprisoned killer—but then the killings start again.
There was plenty of evidence to find Heath McGowan guilty of the original murders, and it was Isla’s police officer father, Eric Bell, who found it. Nailing the killer fast-tracked his career, and now, as Superintendent Bell, he’s in charge when another victim is found. Could there be a copycat killer, or did McGowan have an accomplice that was never found? As Isla studies brain patterns of killers looking for links, DC Mina Arian is assigned to the case. As she stubbornly investigates both past and present cases, Arian begins to see gaps, questions unanswered; but does she dare question the famous Superintendent Bell? Further complicating matters is Isla’s husband, Ramsey, who was one of the original victims and the only survivor. He is very sure Isla shouldn’t be stirring up things or talking with McGowan. The author (The Missing Hours, 2016, etc.) uses her own background as a former police psychologist to strong advantage, especially with Isla’s profiling. Occasionally, her penchant for wordy descriptions (“they couldn’t see the iron fist within the silk glove”) slows the pace, but the red herring–filled conclusion should surprise even the most careful reader.
In Kavanagh's capable hands, the familiar plot of serial-killer-strikes-again is given a fresh and complex feel, complete with several truly sneaky twists.