A surfeit of skeletons versus a cop with a mind of his own.
DS Glyn Capaldi has been ejected from the force in Cardiff and exiled to a rural beat in Mid Wales; his current caseload includes finding the miscreant who's been neutering other people’s sheep. When an excavation crew on the site of a wind farm unearths a skeleton—minus hands and feet—he’s back to more familiar professional territory. He starts by interviewing the parents of Evie Salmon, a young woman who’s been missing for two years; certain the bones are older than that, he reassures the grieving couple that the remains are not their daughter’s. But a hunch takes him back to the hillside, where he discovers another limbless body; when he finds the legs nearby, they're wearing a distinctive pair of red shoes that belonged to Evie. This second skeleton brings in the big boys, including Capaldi’s former protégé, DCI Kevin Fletcher, who’s been promoted over Capaldi and won’t let him forget it. Two more skeletons turn up, and Capaldi is assigned to interview the "incomers"—the nonlocals—including a hermit in search of gold, the managers of a rehab center for troubled boys and the owners of an art gallery that appears to have no customers. When one of the suspects apparently kills himself, Capaldi doggedly pursues his theory (unpopular with both the local cops and the Cardiff contingent) that the suicide wasn’t a suicide, Evie was murdered to distract the police from the three other skeletons—and the killer or killers are still at large.
This second outing for Hutton’s half-Welsh, half-Italian detective (Good People, 2013) is a disgraced-cop procedural that provides plenty of local color and plot twists.