An impossible crime is just one of the outrages confronting DI Peter Shaw, here partnered with old-timer George Valentine.
The detour leads to a side road that leads to a felled tree that leads to a lineup of eight blocked vehicles. The first driver is dead, a screwdriver in his eye. When another driver walks over to him, he’s so horrified that his heart gives out, and Shaw, hurrying over from examining a drum full of toxic waste and a dead body buffeted on a raft half a mile away, has to radio for help. Detail-oriented Shaw’s opposite is George Valentine, his deceased father’s former partner, who’s waiting out his retirement and the bad reputation the pair got for blowing the Tessier case years ago. Though there’ll be another violent death, the first one presents the most perplexing clues. No footprints lead to or from the murdered man’s door except those of the heart-attack victim. The passenger who presumably nibbled an apple has vanished. Detour signs have come and gone without official sanction. But Shaw, who had a problematic relationship with his father, is determined not only to solve this new mystery but to resurrect the old Tessier case and rehabilitate the old man’s memory.
Stunning in plot and delivery, with fluid, visceral prose. Few puzzle solvers will unravel this one before the wind-up, and awards committees will be queuing up to honor this second case for Shaw (The Skeleton Man, 2008).