A year has passed since the traumas experienced in The Tears Of Angels and DCI Colin Anderson is struggling with PTSD. Finally cleared to return to duty, he finds himself still haunted by the nightmares of the Shadowman case, but things aren’t going to get better quickly.
Twenty three years ago, Sue Melrose and her two young sons were hacked to death – the murderer was quickly caught and is still in jail, despite continually protesting his innocence. But when a sinkhole opens up in Altmore Road, the place where both she and her murderer lives, and the bones of someone’s foot are discovered, Anderson and his team find themselves questioning the original conviction.
But danger still lurks in Altmore Road – not just the floodwater building up, but a dangerous killer who is more than willing to kill to keep their secrets…
This is the seventh book featuring Anderson and Costello and the second for me. I really enjoyed The Tears Of Angels last year so I was looking forward to this one.
I’ll be completely honest – it took me a while to get into this one. The first third of the book is primarily set-up, with no clear direction to the investigation, preferring instead to have Anderson’s personal issues as the focus with the events in Altmore Road just, sort of happening. Even with the discovery of the foot and the suspicion that the man in prison for the early crime might not necessarily be guilty, it takes a while to really get going. Until this point, the armchair detective really doesn’t know which direction to be looking in – or even what to look at. As we see snapshots of the lives of the people who live in the street, it’s unclear how much of it is going to be relevant to the mystery plot.
As the full picture emerges in the final third, earlier sections become more relevant and, as with the previous book, it all builds to an exciting climax. There is a clue to the primary villain (although there is more than one thing going on here) although I guessed the killer’s identity pretty early, although the motive, while tying a couple of loose ends together cleverly, really needs to be guessed at – it does rather come out of nowhere. In some ways, I think this is a bit of a victim of the page count – the final section really could do with being twice the length.
I think fans of the series will enjoy it – for newcomers, the closest thing that I can think of is the work of Peter Robinson. If you enjoy the DCI Banks books, then you’ll probably enjoy this one just as much. If you’re a fan of the police procedural, with a very human protagonist, then this is Well Worth A Look.
Many thanks to Severn House who provided this review copy, via Netgalley. It was released on 30th April.