A mystery thriller set in 1992 England.
Greene’s novel introduces psychiatrist Carl Power and police superintendent Lynch. When a teen girl is found beheaded near Power’s home, the doctor is drawn into the case. Lynch believes Power’s insights into the unconscious mind might be an asset in solving the case. When more beheaded bodies turn up, it’s clear that they are trying to track down a serial killer. As reluctant Power and devoutly religious Lynch deal with their own personal demons, they race to catch the killer before he strikes again. When Power’s car is blown up and his girlfriend goes missing, he realizes that the deranged killer may be a former patient. Power makes a discovery about the pattern of the murders, and the police attempt to catch the killer in a trap. The plan fails, however, and Lynch and Power are dismissed from the case, but both are too involved and too obsessed to give up that easily. Some black-and-white illustrations accompany the text, which has a strong, well-developed psychological component and is as much about the internal struggles of sleuths Power and Lynch as it is about the mystery of the serial killer. That said, the characters still seem a bit murky. In one scene, it’s Power who can’t eat his food after Lynch shares some grisly murder details; later, it’s Lynch who becomes queasy as they discuss details of the killings. Likewise, their back stories remain largely unexplored. The illustrations, with their cartoon style, are a strange choice and seem out of place in a grim, serious novel. While the murder is solved by novel’s end, there are some loose threads regarding Power’s girlfriend, Eve, and a secret she hinted at but never divulged. Perhaps it’ll be explored in the promised sequel.
A chilling killer, intriguing though thin characters, and a dash of action make for a haunting novel.