Forensic psychologist professor Kate Hanson (Something Evil Comes, 2017, etc.) risks her career to solve a cold case.
When a court of appeals rules that David Lockman’s conviction for the murder of Della Harrington was based on faulty evidence, the 10-year-old case lands in the lap of the West Midlands Police’s Unsolved Crime Unit. The unit's DS Bernard Watts and Lt. Joseph Corrigan, an American on special assignment from the Boston Police Department, agree that there was little reason to connect the popular novelist with Harrington, the quiet supervisor of a local call center, whose main leisure occupation was singing in amateur opera productions. They quickly identify three persons of interest with much closer ties to the victim: scruffy Archie Fenton, the maintenance man at Harrington’s apartment complex, who has a serious interest in pornography; sleazy rental agent Leonard Dobbs, who has an unhealthy attraction to young tenants; and straight-laced Steffan Coultard, a fellow opera buff who showed considerable interest in the victim. But Kate, a university professor who consults with UCU, begins to wonder whether the team’s theory that Della’s murder was born out of rage, perhaps joined with sexual frustration, may be wrong. In pushing the investigation further, she steps outside the limits prescribed by Chief Superintendent Maurice Gander. Now Kate’s job with UCU is on the line, and with it, perhaps her university career. She has to solve the case fast, and she has to get it right before the unsolved mystery produces unstopped misery for Kate and her family.
Cross’ fifth forensic entry has all the elements of a winning puzzler: a sympathetic heroine, a complicated case, and a crisis to lend a sense of urgency that justice be served.