Ten years ago, DI George Ennis and his protégé Jack Deacon, of the Dimmock CID, were frustratingly unable to prove sheep farmer Neil Cochrane was the man who had raped and murdered three teenaged boys. Now that Ennis has retired, a fresh murder whose victim and circumstances look remarkably familiar casts new suspicion on Cochrane. The only problem is that math tutor Daniel Hood, the eyewitness who saw the killer toss gifted runner Chris Berry off the end of a pier into the English Channel, obstinately refuses to identify Cochrane as the perp. Daniel isn’t to know that his failure to breathe life into the limp body he struggled to pull from the waves is only the first of many defeats. Deacon, who’s in charge of the case, refuses to believe his testimony; Chris’s friends are convinced that Daniel’s lying to save himself from reprisals; angry townsfolk descend on Daniel’s little house and burn it to the ground minutes after he escapes. With nothing left to lose, tormented Daniel, half-wishing his identification wrong, decides to check his memory by confronting Cochrane face to face—and that’s when Bannister (Echoes of Lies, 2001, etc.) springs the first of several chilling surprises.
There’s practically nothing here for series heroine Brodie Farrell, who’s good at finding things, and Daniel’s unshakeable integrity in the face of his Job-like sufferings passes belief. No matter. The fevered search Daniel shares with the copper who hates him is worth every minute it’ll take to speed through this white-hot whodunit.