A band of amateurs competes with numerous police officers to solve a grisly crime.
DI Tess Fuller and her sergeant, Vin Dattani, are shocked by the scene they find at Penfold House, a student accommodation on Curzon Street in London. Leanne Bolter lies in her bedroom, slit from throat to pelvis and eviscerated, and none of her flatmates seems to have heard a thing. While Fuller, assisted by DCI Field, former DI Trinder, DS Cooper, and DS Briggs, searches for clues, Nathan Crow, protégé of Secret Service agent Gustav Clay, inveigles his friend Gregory into a little sleuthing. Both Tess and Gregory have strong ties to Naomi, formerly Blake (Secrets, 2013, etc.) but now wife of Alec Friedman. Naomi’s bored, partly because she was forced to retire from police work after losing her vision, partly because Alec is distracted by continuing education classes he’s taking following a near-fatal car accident. So she becomes a sounding board for Tess and, to a lesser extent, for Gregory until the investigation threatens to disinter the Joe Jackson case. DI Jackson was Naomi’s mentor until he retired in disgrace, in part for endangering Alec once before when an undercover case went bad. Jackson also investigated the death of Rebecca Arnold, whose murder bears striking similarities to Leanne’s. But the more Tess tries to follow Jackson’s footsteps, the more friction she sparks between Naomi and Alec, until evidence surfaces that Leanne and Rebecca may not have been the killer’s only victims.
Combining police procedural with elements of psychological suspense and spy thrillers produces a murky mess likely to please aficionados of none of the above.