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by Val McDermid

Pub Date: Dec. 5th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-8021-2716-7
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly

Back on the job as head of the newly formed regional Major Incident Team, DCI Carol Jordan (Splinter the Silence, 2015, etc.) is tested to the max by the Wedding Killer.

The motive for inoffensive office manager Kathryn McCormick’s murder couldn’t be more prosaic. The killer, who posed as a wedding guest to engage her in conversation before he dated her, drugged her, strangled her, left her car on an isolated road, and set it afire with her inside, was just using her as a placeholder for the amatory and business partner who’d left him after meeting a more suitable mate at a wedding she’d attended alone. The lack of an obvious connection between the murderer and his victim, coupled with his skill in avoiding any forensic evidence, makes it impossible for DCI Carol Jordan, clinical psychologist Tony Hill, and the rest of the ReMIT to come up with any suspects. It also makes it easy for the killer to keep on crashing weddings, cultivating pitiably vulnerable new acquaintances, and taking secondhand revenge on them. Things get even worse for Carol, already tormented by guilt over the unexpectedly far-reaching legal corner-cutting that made it possible for her return to work after she failed a Breathalyzer test, when crime correspondent Penny Burgess makes it her mission to get the evidence that will end Carol’s career. Nor are things going much better for DS Paula McIntyre, whom Carol urges to sign up for the inspector’s exam so she can take over when Carol steps down, as she may have to do any minute: Torin McAndrew, whom she and her partner, Dr. Elinor Blessing, took in as their ward after his mother was murdered, is suddenly acting a lot more skittish and secretive than other teenagers, and there’s a depressingly good reason why.

McDermid keeps all three of these pots simmering, raising the heat in agonizingly tiny increments, until she’s ready for a finale guaranteed to leave you reeling.