A Canadian detective living in Britain pursues cases on two continents.
Chief Inspector Dominic Jejeune’s brother, Damian, who put Dominic’s career in jeopardy in A Cast of Falcons (2016), has gone missing in Colombia, where he’s wanted for causing the deaths of Indigenous people while leading a bird-watching tour. Dominic is a brilliant police officer whose outside-the-box reasoning and sudden flashes of intuitive thinking set him apart as he risks his career to help his brother. Both Jejeunes are avid birders, but when Dominic signs up for a tour with the company Damian worked for, the tour owners and the Colombian authorities rightly think he has an ulterior motive. Back in Saltmarsh, England, Dominic’s boss, Colleen Shepherd, has drafted DI Marvin Laraby to take over Dominic’s cases, beginning with the murder of Erin Dawes. With the help of evidence provided by Sgt. Maik and Constable Salter, Laraby arrests Robin Oakes, a wildlife photographer living in the gatehouse of his ruined estate. Oakes, a partner in a scheme set up by the murdered woman to provide land and capital for a drone company specializing in reforesting remote areas, is just the kind of person the class-conscious Laraby despises as a useless parasite. Laraby, a solid detective who has a troubled history with Dominic—whose brilliance is sometimes off-putting to his colleagues—soon worms his way into the good graces of everyone but Sgt. Maik. In Colombia, Dominic is joined by lifelong birding friend Juan “Traz” Perez, who pretends not to speak Spanish in hopes of learning something about Damian. Their tour is filled with the joy of seeing exotic birds and a near-death experience for Dominic, whose girlfriend in Saltmarsh, Lindy Hey, is nearly killed herself in what’s apparently an accidental gas explosion. Dominic returns when he’s done all he can for his brother only to find that Laraby, who released Oakes and arrested another man involved in the scheme, has gotten it wrong again, leaving Dominic to cleverly clean up the mess.
Skillfully written, full of moral ambiguities and artful puzzles, with a spine-tingling final sentence.