A cold case involving a former police officer’s sister becomes linked to a current series of gruesome murders in 1969 London.
After taking a bullet to the shoulder in The Kings of London (2015), DS Cathal “Paddy” Breen recuperates in the Devon countryside with ex–DC Helen Tozer, his onetime colleague who left the police to help out on her family farm. Going slowly stir crazy without his work and the hustle of London, Breen distracts himself by unofficially looking into the unsolved case that’s haunted Helen for five years: the rape and murder of her 16-year-old sister, Alexandra. Breen discovers missing pages in the police files and learns that there was a coverup involving a sergeant who’s conveniently since transferred to the Met’s Drug Squad and a wealthy landowner, James Fletchet, who was having a secret affair with Alexandra. Returning to London for the full story, Breen looks up his old friend DS John Carmichael, also part of the Drug Squad, who tells him that the former Devon copper, Sgt. Bill Milkwood, is the golden boy of the squad. As Breen digs deeper, uncovering potential ties between the years Milkwood and Fletchet spent in Kenya during the 1950s and the bloody times known as the Emergency and Alexandra's murder, Milkwood goes missing, and Breen fears that whoever killed Helen’s sister is at it again. Despite the fact that he’s on sick leave for most of the novel, Breen is the most active, engaged, and compelling that he’s been thus far in the series.
In this conclusion to a thoroughly gripping trilogy, Shaw draws incisive attention to little-known historical events and crafts a wholly satisfying thriller.