Chief Supt. John Lambert and DS Bert Hook (Die Happy, 2011, etc.) face what every policeman dreads: a child-killer.
When 24 hours pass with no result after Anthea Gibson first reports the disappearance of her 7-year-old daughter, Lucy, from the village fair, Lambert and Hook know that the outcome won’t be good. They keep on questioning the likely suspects: her mother’s boyfriend, Matt Boyd, who brought Lucy to the fair hoping to bond with her; brawny Irish fair worker Rory Burns, who has a nasty habit of looking up little girls’ dresses as he helps them onto the rides; dedicated pedophile Dennis Robson; and Big Julie Foster, a mentally challenged loner who once snatched an infant left in her pram outside a store while her oblivious mother shopped. They even question Anthea and her sad, estranged husband, Dean Gibson, who’s led a pathetic life in a dismal boardinghouse since Anthea shooed him out of their marital home to make way for the more promising Boyd. But the police know it’s just a matter of time, and sure enough, Lucy’s body washes up on the banks of the Wye, often described as one of the most beautiful rivers in England. And once it’s a case of murder, they bear down even harder, trying to stop the killer before more children come to harm.
Gregson knows when to up the ante and when to bring his case to a close in this tense procedural.