A tough Scottish cop emerges from prison with a boulder-sized chip on his shoulder and a single focus: justice.
Framed for murder, former DI Ash Henderson served eight years and has been released to society with exactly two items on his agenda. The first is to catch the serial killer he was pursuing at the time, the twisted and brutal "Inside Man," so named because he left dolls inside the stomachs of his victims. The second is to take revenge on Mrs. Kerrigan, the crazy Irish criminal who framed him. Strangely, the Inside Man abruptly stopped his crime spree when Ash went to prison. But now he's started again, leaving a nurse murdered in a remote dumping ground, trademark doll embedded in the corpse. Is he sending Ash a message? Ash feels a strange elation, helping him muscle through his knee-jerk resistance to authority (he's forced to wear an ankle bracelet), the needling of resentful colleagues and the renewed understanding that he can never regain the life he had before. His former sidekick, optimistic psychologist Dr. Alice McDonald, helps engineer his release and does her best to run interference for him as they try to pick up where they left off on the case. As the pair savor their deliciously discordant chemistry, Laura Strachan, a survivor of the Inside Man, delivers a baby, an event elaborately covered by the press. She seems to be a sitting duck, unless Ash can save her.
MacBride does a spotty job of explaining carryover characters from Ash's first thriller (Birthdays for the Dead, 2012). But his gritty, immediate prose and righteous hero grab the reader from the get-go.