The creator of DI Christy Kennedy (A
Pleasure to Do Death with You, 2012,
etc.) auditions a new police hero who isn’t really a police officer at all.
DI Brendy McCusker retired from the Portrush constabulary only to have his wife, Anna Stringer, run off with his nest egg and leave him behind. So now a temp agency has sent him to Belfast, where he’s helping DI Lily O’Carroll and correcting everyone who calls him inspector. There are a lot of people to correct because McCusker’s involved with two different cases. The first involves the disappearance of two 20-something brothers, Lawrence and Ryan O’Neill, whose mother, Polly, is certain they’ve been kidnapped and whose stepfather, James, is equally certain that O’Carroll and McCusker are trespassing in his home and need to leave. Not even a ransom demand changes James’ mind, but it does get Polly to press him (never mind how) to plunk down £999,950 for the safe return of the brothers. In the meantime, McCusker’s been saddled with a second case: the savage stabbing of Adam Whitlock, a young American solicitor who’s been working for the law firm long associated with his wealthy father, Wesley Whitlock III. McCusker digs up plenty of suspects in the murder, but the most promising have alibis, and the others don’t pan out. Eventually he’s nagged by his memories of the O’Neill kidnapping, as most readers will be too, and unearths an audaciously inventive connection between the two crimes.
Unevenly paced but continuously absorbing, with a nice rapport between the hero and heroine even though they clearly aren’t destined to share a romantic relationship.