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DEATH TOLL by Jim Kelly


by Jim Kelly

Pub Date: June 21st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-57352-2
Publisher: Minotaur

DI Peter Shaw (Death Watch, 2010, etc.) deals with two cold cases, one of which is family business.

Not far from his Norfolk home, 9-year-old Jonathan Tessier is discovered dead, a homicide victim. Two excellent detectives catch the case, and in due time seemingly crack it. They arrest Robert Mosse, a 21-year-old law student, who’s tried but eventually freed—a monumental speed bump for two fast-track careers tainted by the possibility of fabricated evidence. The officers, DCI Jack Shaw and his partner DI George Mortimer, of the West Norfolk Constabulary, suffer deeply in the aftermath of what turns out to be the Tessier debacle. Shaw, humiliated and embittered, resigns from the force. Mortimer, reduced in rank, spends a painful period wandering the North Norfolk boondocks. Thirteen years later, in one of those tricky games Fate likes to play, Mortimer finds himself partnered with a younger Shaw, Jack’s son Peter, whose zeal to remove the Tessier taint matches his own. But there’s a second cold case on their plates, this one even older and, in a variety of curious ways, more pressing. Twenty-eight years ago, Nora Tilden was murdered and her husband duly convicted and imprisoned. Trickster Fate, though, has suddenly arranged to disinter her coffin, atop which rest bones of another color, a mysterious set belonging to a black man who until now no one had considered missing.

Kelly writes impeccable prose and creates compelling characters, but the ungainly size of this novel will leave some readers feeling that the party just goes on too long.