DCI Charlie Woodend (Stone Killer, 2005, etc.) and his crew track a serial killer bent on displaying his handiwork in increasingly public venues.
The first corpse, found floating, decapitated, in the Whitebridge canal, had originally been hung from seldom-used Locke Bridge so inconspicuously that Chief Constable Henry Marlowe announced the death as a suicide, seriously hampering Woodend’s investigation. Still, as they met over pints at the Drum and Monkey, Woodend, his sergeant Monika Paniatowski, his former sergeant Bob Rutter and recently-promoted DC Colin Beresford all agree that Terry Pugh, with a good job and a baby on the way, didn’t top himself. Reg Lewis’s body, found dangling from a crane at a construction site, only confirms their certainty that someone wants to wipe out men in their late 20s leaving his victims for all to see. The connection isn’t hard to find: Pugh and Lewis served in Cyprus together during the Cypriot uprising of the 1950s. But finding the connection isn’t quite the same as stopping the killer—a lesson not lost on Monika, dispatched to the Mideast; Rutter, embarking on a dangerous relationship with unscrupulous reporter Liz Driver; and ever-persistent Woodend, caught in the political toils of his superiors.
The intrigue grows but the detection wanes, making Spencer’s latest entry feel like a transitional piece, a stopgap between reminiscences of past adventures and plans for future outings.