DS Henry Christie and ex-copper Steve Flynn almost become friends.
When Joe Speakman unexpectedly retires from the force, his cases are distributed among the Lancashire constabulary. Henry Christie is assigned the brutal murder of an unidentified victim whose dental work marks her as an Eastern European. He’s barely begun work on the case when he’s called to the River Lune, where Canary Islands sport-fishing guide Steve Flynn, now in England to help a friend undergoing cancer treatment, has pulled a dead woman from the estuary. Immediately thereafter, two men in ski masks attack Christie, cracking his cheekbone, then have a go at Flynn, setting fire to the houseboat he’s staying on. Both times, the goons are clearly intent on recovering some property the drowned woman may have had on her. But what is it? The chase will lead to Cyprus, cause the murder of a detective supervisor and his wife and daughter, and force Flynn to save Christie’s life twice and Christie to watch while his love, Alison, her face so pummeled she’ll need reconstructive work, is abducted on orders from a bent copper. Christie and Flynn, whose relationship's been strained ever since Flynn left the police service under a cloud and was later exacerbated by Christie’s jealousy over Flynn’s attentions to Alison (Facing Justice, 2011, etc.), grudgingly begin to respect each other and move toward accommodation, if not actual friendship.
Oldham, who surely belongs in the pantheon of noir stylists, throws punches with the best of them. And there’s not a woman alive who wouldn’t want to romance Flynn now that Christie is off the market.