DI Elaine Hope gets a promotion to DCI and a chance at romance in this debut mystery.
A teenage girl is found beaten, slashed, and dumped by the tracks in East London. DI Hope and her senior partner, DCI Marcus Benford, discover that Sheila Watson sneaked out a window at night to go dancing with an older bloke known as Danny. Security camera footage reveals she took a bus ride with Dr. Peter Willend, a handsome surgeon. Benford prematurely latches onto him as the culprit, but Hope's intuition says he's a decent man. Her intuition is confirmed when Willend is not only cleared by forensics, but even saves Benford's life when the detective has a heart attack while interrogating him. Benford’s retirement opens the way for Hope’s promotion; Dr. Willend’s release clears the way for him to ask Hope out on a date. Meanwhile, Hope and her protégée, Liz Barker, connect Sheila’s death to the murder of Geri Harding, the leasing agent for the property next to the first crime scene. All signs point to the property’s owners, a shady Serbian family, and their lowlife lawyer. While questioning the lawyer, Barker and Hope run into Danilo, a young member of the crime family whose sports car—the same make as the one Sheila was seen getting into—and aggressive flirtation mark him unmistakably as Sheila’s killer. Now it’s a race against time as the Metropolitan Police fight the crime family’s machinations to prove that Danilo is the killer before he strikes again.
The characterization is thin, and the violence against women goes well past gritty into gratuitous. Worthwhile only for thriller addicts with too much time on their hands.