|Date Published||06 February 2020|
Bart wakes up in a pitch-dark container, with no idea where he is going or how he got there. DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach uncover sordid, violent and distasteful activities as they investigate this and an apparently unrelated crime.
DI Luc Callanach has returned to France, on loan to Interpol, the first time he has returned to his home country since the trauma which led him to Scotland. He is working with old colleagues and struggling to overcome his memories. DCI Ava Turner misses Luc and yet is still in denial of her deep attraction to him. She is facing demons of her own, after an unfortunate liaison with another police officer and the discovery that her closest friend has cancer.
In this climate, Luc and Ava discover that the two separate crimes that they are investigating are linked leading to a need for very fast-paced intervention in order to save the lives of the vulnerable victims.
Once again, in this, the sixth in the series, Helen Fields produces a very well-crafted plot with credible characters. As always, her graphic descriptions of violence and cruelty are handled with taste but without losing any of their shock value. She really has the knack of drawing the reader into the circumstance and of experiencing distaste in the actions without creating any unpleasant feelings of voyeurism. The familiar protagonists are all back, and for those who have read the whole series it is engaging to pursue their individual tales, although it is the main protagonists, Luc and Ava, along with the major victims, who take the limelight in this very well planned thriller.
Helen Field’s writing style continues to develop. One paragraph particularly caught my attention for its poignancy and craftsmanship: “That was the thing about memories. One day they were just ordinary recollections, with more to be made, expectations keeping them in perspective and ready to be replaced. Once death came, those memories were newly precious, gold to be mined and polished at every opportunity, in the knowledge that the total sum of your riches had already been amassed, and that every ounce, every fleck had to be cherished forever.”
This is another excellent novel from an equally excellent author. I am amazed that a TV series has not yet been commissioned.
Reviewed 11 April 2020 by John Barnbrook