Pressed to investigate a suspect cop’s handling of an ancient case, psychotherapist Dr. Frieda Klein ends up finding out a whole lot more.
Geoffrey Lester may have been a career criminal, but it looks as if he didn’t commit the murder DCI Ben Sedge happened to pinch him for. So now, impossibly well-connected Walter Levin, whom Frieda owes a big favor, wants her to look into Sedge’s handling of the case of Hannah Docherty, who’s spent nearly half her life in Chelsworth Hospital after her conviction for the murders of her mother, stepfather, and younger brother. The one thing Frieda learns from her dead-end interview with Hannah is that she’s been irreparably damaged and rendered virtually speechless, though it’s impossible to tell whether the trauma she’s suffered was a cause or an effect of the guilty verdict and her hellish confinement. A stunning new development confirms Frieda’s dawning belief that Hannah is innocent, but that’s exactly what Levin and Jock Keegan, his ex-cop investigator, don’t want to hear; they’re looking for evidence against Sedge, not the reopening of a case so old and painful that nobody wants to talk about it—not Hannah’s father; not her old neighbors; not the rebellious circle of friends and lovers who haven’t troubled to pay her a visit for 13 years. The only enthusiast is online conspiracy theorist Erin Brack, whose wholehearted embrace of Frieda’s efforts ends in disaster. As if to remind Frieda that old wounds aren’t the exclusive property of Hannah Docherty, her two personal demons, sociopathic killer Dean Reeve and vindictive profiler Hal Bradshaw, both emerge once more from the shadows, determined in their very different ways to blight her life.
A welcome return to form after the heroine’s overwrought, undernourishing last adventure (Friday on My Mind, 2016), even if the continuing villains smack more than ever of a soap opera that just won’t end.