Forensic detective Enzo Macleod solves a challenging cold-case murder that dates back more than 20 years.
The impressively rendered sense of place and the keen character insights author May has shown in his books set in the Hebrides and in China are richly in evidence in this novel set in France. In what is billed as the last case in the Enzo Files series, the reader follows Enzo Macleod, aging (56) and sometimes weary, as he determines to find the killer of Lucie Martin, who was strangled and dumped into a lake in the west of France at age 20. Although the killer was never found, evidence pointed to Régis Blanc as the culprit even though this pimp had a “cast-iron” alibi for his whereabouts at the time of the murder. Lucie had met him while working at a rehab center for ex-convicts after he served nine months for assault, and her spurned boyfriend suggested that Lucie and Régis become lovers. Régis’ subsequent murder of three prostitutes, for which he was sentenced to life in prison, cast further suspicion on him as Lucie’s killer. But Macleod has doubts that Régis killed Lucie. His misgivings come into sharp focus during a powerful scene in which Macleod interviews Régis in prison. Macleod is on the case, but he realizes someone wants him off it: a man attempts to kill him as he searches a dark château. Meanwhile, in a suspenseful subplot, thugs kidnap Macleod’s daughter and her lover, Bertrand, threatening their lives unless Macleod gets off the case. Struggling to maintain equilibrium, Macleod reminds himself that he deals with “real people, with real lives and real sorrow,” an observation that also befits May’s full, insightful rendering of Macleod’s ex-wife, his current paramour, and his family. Though some early scenes with Macleod’s family seem extraneous, they tie perfectly to the surprising reveals that come in the book’s swift second half. All this plays out against sharply sketched scenes of Paris and Bordeaux in late fall.
The last shall be best.