Back at the Riverstone police station after a stabbing almost cut short her career for good (Never Forget, 2013), DC Nina Foster lands a cold case with some red-hot tentacles.
Habitual burglar Joe Bring is neither an upstanding citizen nor a criminal mastermind, but when he asks Nina to visit him in prison, her higher-ups are eager to send her. And for good reason: Joe now claims that the accidental 1964 derailment of the Chilhampton Express by a lorry his father, Malcolm Bring, drove onto a grade crossing and couldn’t drive off was no accident at all; it was arranged by drug lord Leonard Rumbly. There’s no way that Malcolm, who’s long dead, can testify against Rumbly, now 76, and Joe doesn’t present any hard evidence, though he hints that there are people who may know more. So Nina starts talking to those people. With Thomas Ross, a disgraced football player who survived the wreck seven other passengers didn’t, she hits pay dirt. Tommy supplies a motive for the crash and offers to testify against Rumbly if only his alcohol-sodden liver keeps him alive long enough to walk into court. As Nina surveys the collateral damage Rumbly and his family have left in their wake, she’s in serious danger of forgetting the much more recent death of Lea Hollingsworth. But there’s no way she’ll forget the tension at home with her police lover, Bill Harrison, or the ripples that have disturbed her long friendship with retired DCI Stan McGuire, who made his name by rescuing her and her sister, Sara, from a child kidnapper, or the torment her needy, vindictive mother continues to inflict on her.
Not so much a whodunit as a race between justice and mortality: overstuffed, fast-paced, glum, and mostly unsurprising. Just the thing for fans of British procedurals who wish they could still watch Prime Suspect on the telly.