Detective Superintendent Roy Grace’s 15th outing focuses on the dark side of internet dating, which is darker than you can imagine.
Dieter Haas, Munich divorcée Lena Welch’s online beau; Richie Griffiths, widowed Lynda Merrill’s digital suitor; Norbert Petersen, Suzy Driver’s dishy crush; and Evelyne Desota, retired NYPD detective Matthew Sorokin’s would-be mate, all have two things in common. They’ve extracted thousands from the lovers who’ve never met them, and they don’t exist. The scam romances have been expertly coordinated by Jules de Copeland, ne Tunde Oganjimi, and his cousin Kofi Okonjo, aka Dunstan Ogwang, a pair of Ghanaians convinced that their actions are morally justified by the West’s centuries of imperialism and alarmingly willing to cover their tracks by whatever violent means necessary. Even though most of their victims are left too shocked, too ashamed, or too dead to say anything, Grace and the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team soon get on the scamsters’ trails. So do Jack Roberts, owner/operator of Global Investigations; Matthew Sorokin, who doesn’t take his humiliating swindle lying down; and Tooth, a hired killer who’s already racked up a history with the Major Crime Team. As Jules de Copeland closes in on Lynda Merrill and the 450,000 pounds she’s promised Richie Griffiths, Roberts, Sorokin, and Tooth, working very much at odds with each other, all compete with the police for the prize of grabbing and neutralizing him without endangering his woefully credulous target. It’s no wonder that the fade-out finds Grace (Dead If You Don’t, 2018, etc.) contemplating pastures new that promise big changes in the next installment.
A full-throated exposé with perhaps too many enforcers and avengers for comfort.