First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Helen Fields and Avon Books UK for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
Returning to this stellar police procedural series, I was eager to discover how Helen Fields would tackle some of the major cliffhangers she left for readers. She’s surely spun things around and developed a multi-pronged storyline that will keep series fans talking and the reader enjoying this one until the final page. With DI Luc Callanach on the outs with his boss at MIT Police Scotland, he has agreed to make his way to France and help out an old INTERPOL colleague. When they discover the remains of a body—its internal organs removed—Callanach is baffled about who or what might be lurking in the shadows. Some preliminary DNA traces it back to a missing Scottish boy, forcing Callanach to get on the phone with DCI Ava Turner, this aforementioned boss and past love interest. Turner takes the call and agrees to make the notification, but is working some cases of her own. Someone has discovered the body of a man, shot in the head. Found in a seedy part of Edinburgh, there are some obvious signs of trying to clean up the scene. Add to that, a young man has gone missing out of thin air and no one can make sense of it. While both cases progress, Callanach learns of an underground organ transplant ring and tries to infiltrate it, but must be extremely delicate, while DCI Turner’s leads send her on a few wild chases, including to a pig farm. Both Turner and Callanach must also tackle feelings from their recent amorous tiff and news of a friend that leaves them broken. With two additional underlying plots related to people in captivity, this book leaves little time to breathe or process. Fields has done it again, with a stellar piece of writing. Recommended to those who love this series and need another reason, as well as the reader who loves a police procedural that leaves it all out on the field (pun intended).
I discovered this series a while back and cannot get enough of it. The mix of Scottish and French beliefs adds depth to the story and a layer of humour I have not found elsewhere. Luc Callanach remains a wonderful protagonist, still smarting from some of his choices, but eager to help back in France. His police work is balanced nicely with an air of compassion, both for Ava, as well as those around him on the case. We do not get much more back story, or even processing what happened, but Callanach does well keeping things professional as best he can. Contrasting nicely with this is DCI Ava Turner, whose supervisory role has been violated again, but she is still trying to shake off the feelings she has for Callanach. Compartmentalising these is difficult, but she as a few major cases on her plate, let alone the news of a friend’s illness. Juggling all this, as well as professional interactions with Callanach begin the wear her down to the nub. Others make recurring or new appearances and keep the story fresh, from all angles. Fields has done well to develop some characters who pull the reader in, while others are surely repulsive enough that no one wants near them. The plot was strong and worked well for me, balancing a Scotland and France angle, tying things together effectively without muddying the waters too much. There is that ongoing Callanach-Turner strain that has kept the series on edge for a while, which does not dissipate here. As series fans scream for some resolution, they also bask in the awkwardness that continues throughout. I am eager to see where things are headed, as this series never disappoints.
Kudos, Madam Fields, for another stellar instalment in the series. I hope you have many more ideas for your crew!
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons