A Dublin detective fresh off a case that nearly killed her delves into what looks like a suicide but soon blossoms into a web of murder.
Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan bears the scars of the nearly dead after facing off with a killer who’s now on trial for murder. For her first case back after a leave of absence, she and her team in the Bureau for Serious Crime confront the death of Eleanor Costello, a microbiologist and part-time university lecturer found hanging in her home. Irregularities mount, from clues that point from suicide to murder to the mysterious disappearance of Costello’s husband, Peter. In Kiernan’s accomplished debut, Sheehan bristles with the tenacity of a copper with something to prove, especially as a woman in power trying to keep the demons from her last case at bay. Soon there’s a second body, and while the connections to Costello are at first tenuous, Sheehan and her team creep into the tangles of the darknet, thanks to websites tied to the victims, and find a disturbing community obsessed with experiencing death. But even as the police close in on a suspect, their net comes up empty—or, in one case, full of yet another body—and it seems like the killer may slip through their fingers. It’s only when Sheehan makes a startling connection between a prior case and the current string of murders that things begin to fall into place.
As much a procedural as a character study of coming to terms with one’s own capacity for perseverance in the face of tragedy, this will hopefully not be the last time readers encounter Kiernan's tough heroine.