When DS Allie Shenton gets an early morning call letting her know that a dead body has been found, she hesitates just for a second. Her sister is on life support and the prognosis isn’t good – she should be with her…but that’s where she has been for the last few weeks and she needs a distraction. Murder may not be the most pleasant one but it’s her job, and she’s good at it, so she heads out.
When she arrives at the scene she finds the victim is a local gangster, Jordan Johnson; Jordan also happens to be the boyfriend of Kirstie Ryder, linking back to the first book in this series. Kirstie is the daughter of Terry Ryder, the most feared gangster in Stoke, even though he’s behind bars (thanks to Allie). Given the link, Allie knows there has to be more to Jordan’s death than his just being in the wrong place at the wrong time despite the seeming randomness of the crime. She also knows that the last people she wants to get involved with again are the Ryders – they are nasty pieces of work.
And then, as if she didn’t have enough on her plate, she has to keep looking over her shoulder, trying to figure out just who is stalking her – when all she knows is that it’s the same man who attacked her sister 17 years before, leaving her with significant brain damage. Never caught, he is back and after Allie. This is another thread from previous books but I don’t think you have to read them to enjoy this novel because it does work as a standalone. It is, however, the one gripe I would have about the book – this storyline didn’t feel as strong as the central one and I felt it was a bit rushed. I wish it had rolled over to another book and been the central story.
The main storyline, though, the murder, was well written and tightly plotted – taking place over the course of just over 24 hours with chapters for timeframes. This was well done, keeping me turning pages, and – as I’ve read quite a few books recently with characters / alternating chapters – a good change of pace for me. It didn’t make the story any less compelling though – it was, very, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing.
The main characters were also well developed too, and Sherratt has added layers to them with each book. Allie is more complex than I originally thought, in part because of what happened to her sister but also in her relationship with her husband Mark, who came into his own a bit more in this book. They are people I want to get to know more so I’m hoping that there is another in the series in the offing because I really liked this book a lot. A recommended read.