A detective investigating a string of sex crimes senses that the key may be found in understanding her own biases against the perpetrators.
When Lisa Webb is beaten and left to drown in a pond days before her 16th birthday, her death appears to be the latest in a series of sex crimes that hadn’t yet left anyone dead. DI Sarah Quinn is certain that the key to solving the case lies with Lisa’s friend Natalie Hinds, with whom Lisa was supposedly revising—British for "studying"—on the night of her death. Sarah suspects the two girls duped their respective parents and were out on the town instead. Natalie’s been missing since that night, though it’s not clear if that’s because she’s been captured by the same malefactor or because she’s split town. Known as the ice princess for her less-than-warm treatment of witnesses and suspects, Sarah hopes that her gentler partner, DC Dave Harries, will have more luck in questioning the many persons of interest. Unfortunately, sex crimes bring out the crazies, and Sarah and her mates are inundated with old and new claims of potentially interrelated perversions. As each lead makes Sarah doubt her style of interrogation even more, the detective almost misses the manipulative yet successful sleuthing by her former rival and not-quite-friend, reporter Caroline King. Carter’s decision to relegate the reporter to a minor role in a more thoroughly conceived plot pays off.
Sarah grows from an idea to a more fully realized character in this fourth installment of a series (Child’s Play, 2014, etc.) that may just be hitting its stride.