The latest hair-raising adventure of the husband-and-wife team of Patrick Gillard and Ingrid Langley strikes uncomfortably close to home.
Patrick and Ingrid’s friend DCI James Carrick asks for help when his patch, the beautiful city of Bath, unexpectedly becomes the scene of bloody gang wars. Having made the move from MI5 to SOCA, the Serious Organized Crime Agency, the pair is well prepared to take on almost anything. The fearsome criminal known as “Uncle,” a master of changing identities, has been spotted in Bath, accompanied as always by his vicious minder, Joy Murphy. When the gang, always one step ahead of their pursuers, seek to confound them by having one of their local members accuse Patrick’s father, a vicar, of unseemly sexual advances, Patrick and Ingrid’s two oldest children, who fancy themselves detectives, mount a brisk counterattack. Matthew is caught checking out the local pub, whose publican, almost certainly involved in criminal activity, has the cheek to accuse Matthew of breaking and entering. An angry Patrick scares some of the low-level local muscle into revealing what they know, but Uncle is still on the loose. In the end, Patrick takes some dangerous chances and puts himself in harm’s way to catch up with Uncle. Only some last-minute intervention from Ingrid saves the family bacon.
Reliable veteran Duffy (Corpse in Waiting, 2010, etc.) serves up another tasty blend of thriller and police procedural with a touch of romance.