DI Liam McLusky (Four Below, 2012, etc.) returns in time for serial mayhem.
Blasting a suspect’s car with a sawn-off shotgun may be routine for Dirty Harry–style American cops, but the Bristol CID takes a dimmer view of gunplay. So McLusky is all but floored when Superintendent Denkhaus agrees to take him back—after a refresher course on police procedure. Vowing to do better, McLusky takes one step forward and two back. He tries eating chocolate bars to wean himself off cigarettes. Of course he ends up addicted to both. He accepts that his affair with college lecturer Louise Rennie has run its course—hard to deny, since Louise in now sleeping with his colleague, DI Kat Fairfield—only to see Laura, his previous lover, resurface. At work, he faces two highly disturbing cases. First is a nutter who invades women’s homes—often with the women still in them—to rummage through their lingerie. More sinister is the murder of Barbara Steadman, head of domestic telesales at Western Energy, who is found in a lake, bound, gagged, and anchored to a radiator. McLusky and his bagman, DS James “Jane” Austin, have made scant headway in either case when a second body appears. Stephen Bothwick, a 34-year-old personal assistant, is found flung in a field. Like Ms. Steadman, the latest victim is bound with clothesline, but his injuries are more extensive and more severe. Fearing what a third victim might look like, McLusky baits a trap that just may add his name to the killer’s list.
The McLusky series manages to be both hilarious and dead serious, adding yet another string to Helton’s impressive bow.