CLEAN CUT by Lynda La Plante


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More skullduggery, more nasty sex, more personal danger, and lots more homicide for DI Anna Travis and her boss and lover, DCI James Langton (Above Suspicion, 2006).

Accused of killing teenaged prostitute Carly Ann North, illegal Somali immigrant Idris Krasiniqe implicates two confederates in his street gang as accomplices. When Langton confronts them, one hacks at him with a machete, nearly killing him. Seven weeks later, Anna investigates a hacking of her own: the murder of public librarian Irene Phelps, whose 12-year-old daughter found her mutilated corpse when she came home from school. Arthur George Murphy, a neighboring sex offender two streets away, is quickly identified as her likely killer and confesses, closing the case. Meanwhile, however, inquiries that led Anna and the Brixton murder team to Murphy’s sister Gail Sickert now promise to lead much further. The price will be high, beginning with the grisly slaying of Gail and her toddler daughter and leading to a long trail of felonies: smuggling illegals, trafficking in drugs and sexual slavery and, of course, murder most foul. But the rewards will be high as well, for linking Langton’s case to Anna’s will bring Langton, who’s mad for revenge, face to face with Mr. Machete.

Every page burns with intensity, but the mind-boggling complexities of the plot, which require endless summaries without ever leading to a single explanation that would make sense of them all, will leave most readers scratching their heads and wondering what they missed.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4165-8666-1
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2008


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