A young woman is found dead at the roadside with a gruesome cut-out of a doll shape taken from her skin. Soon, the doll itself appears at the sight where a second victim has been taken.
And so starts a chain of killings and torture. Can Luc and Ava find the perpetrator against all the odds? How many young women will be lost before they catch up with the killers?
This is the fourth book in the series starring DC Luc Cavanagh and DCI Ava Turner and their police colleagues.
For me, there were two strengths to the story-telling.
The first is we get to know the victims. Yes, this is pretty gruesome but it’s also very human. The girls that are taken will tell us their own story. Warning - some of this is dark because we are with them when they are captured and killed. But for me, it was one of the strengths of the book because the victims are real. You’ll see this in the very first chapter which is brilliant yet horrible.
The second thing I liked were the strong main characters and supporting cast. Of the supporting characters, Chief Superintendent Daisy Overbeck was my favourite. She’s nasty and authoritarian and she and Ava will almost come to blows. I liked the way this shows DCI Ava’s spirit. As Overbeck says, it also shows Ava’s naivety when it comes to dealing with the higher echelons of the police hierarchy.
DI Luc was less of a strong character but he was still likeable. I’ve not read others in this series so I don’t know his backstory. Maybe this made me less sympathetic to him. Still, Luc and Ava have a real feel to them and they each have their own failings and strengths. (The only part of this that started to annoy me a tad was Ava’s plight as a single woman which is heavy emphasised in contrast to Luc’s new relationship with the glamorous Sabrina.)
There's a thread left dangling at the end, which I suppose will lead to a follow-up book.
It was a shame it wasn't all tied up. that said, it’s still a great story and it merits 5 stars. One of the best (and possibly THE best) police procedural I’ve read this year.
My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book. This is my honest review.
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