First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Helen Sarah Fields, and Avon Books UK for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
Helen Sarah Fields has been developing this strong police procedural series over the past few years, which mixes some unique characters against the backdrop of some vicious murders that will keep the reader wondering well into the story. When a young woman is discovered murdered, her body dumped like a pile of rubbish, DI Luc Callenach and DCI Ava Turner are understandably concerned. However, when the body is shown to have a doll-like piece of skin carved from both the abdomen and back, things get a little more concerning. Thus begins a panicked search for a killer that Police Scotland can only hope will be brief. When a second woman goes missing, she is seen to have left her baby in a pram. The baby is eventually located, with a raggedly stitched doll of human skin tucked next to her. Callanach and Turner think that this may be the start to a gruesome killing spree and it is only getting started. Meanwhile, there is a new drug on the streets named Spice, which turns its users into zombies, at least for a time. Those in the homeless population are turning up carved with a ‘Z’ on their cheek while under the influence. Turner and the rest of her team are trying to see who might be targeting this vulnerable population, finding a clue that takes them on a goose chase through the richer families of Edinburgh. DCI Turner must not only wrestle with these two cases, but a superior who will stop at nothing to meddle and cut her down. Edinburgh is rocked by these crimes and the killer may be trying to push a religious extermination of their own to cleanse the streets. Fields continues with her stellar writing that will have series fans begging for more. Recommended to those who have been intrigued by the DI Callanach novels to date, as well as those who like a well-paced police procedural that does not lose stream throughout.
While there are many police procedural series on the market today, Helen Sarah Fields has found a way to produce unique stories with a handful of strong characters. Using Edinburgh as an interesting backdrop, the stories exemplify the strength of Police Scotland as they face a number of bone-chilling cases. Fields again turns her focus on DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner, developing their characters as well as abilities to solve crime. Callanach continues to impress since his move from INTERPOL, showing that he has a strong dedication to the police work required to solve these complex cases. As with the previous novels, Callanach’s struggles with issues in his personal life bleed into the present through a well-paced narrative that highlights these struggles. The series reader will know precisely what is going on and find much interest in how it is handled herein. Turner is forced to continue her struggle with being catapulted up the ranks, where she is now able to oversee the Major Investigations Team (MIT). However, this has led to a number of other issues, including trying to define her relationship with Callanach, who now answers to her, as well as the issues of being put under the microscope by an equally determined Superintendent. Fields effectively shows how Turner seeks to find a balance in a position that is rife with controversial decisions. The story is strong and Fields is able to weave together a powerful crime thriller with clues and dramatic case development peppers amongst the ever-intensifying chapters. These cases are full of dark criminal elements and will surely keep the reader up well into the night. Another strong effort by Fields will keep me reading as long as she has ideas put to paper.
Kudos, Madam Fields, for another wonderful novel in this series. I cannot wait to see what else you have in store for your fans.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons