Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster has been called back to duty before she feels ready. It seems that sometime earlier, she had led a group of police officers into a large drug bust that turned out to be an ambush, and five of her people were killed. Tragically, one of those to die was her husband Mark. Still raw from this loss as well as the roasting she took from her higher ups as well as the press, she is called back to solve a sticky crime involving the brutal murder a young woman who is the daughter of one of England’s wealthiest and most influential families. Of course, Foster quickly runs into resistance when she’s put in charge. It seems many still harbor ill feelings toward her over the massacre. And it doesn’t help that she’s a woman who is single-minded and doesn’t mind pushing people who are used to being given a pass. Put a man in the same position and he’s seen as a good, hard-nosed cop, but she’s just a witch. Or another word that rhymes with that.
Robert Bryndza has created a fascinating character in Erika Foster, who, despite being a personal mess, is a sharp, thoughtful police detective who sees patterns where lesser cops see only chaos. And, despite what the people around her seem to believe, all she cares about is solving the young lady’s crime. Her job is made harder by the family of the victim, who seem not to want to have the crime solved, and by some of her colleagues, who not only have a different theory as to who committed the murder, but also seem to be willing to do anything to knock her out of her position. But despite all these obstacles, along with the fact that the murderer is stalking her the whole time, she perseveres and gets her man. Sorry for the spoiler, but did you really expect anything else?
Two of my favorite characters in the book are Moss and Peterson, with whom Foster hits it off immediately. They all seem to know a good cop instinctively and are drawn together by their shared passion for catching the murderer. We learn more about Moss’ personal life, but both characters are well drawn. And each member of the Douglas-Brown family is delightfully crazy in a different way. The dad is more worried about keeping his reputation than about his daughter’s killer coming to justice. The mom is a drug-addled lush. The sister is the ultimate crazy cat lady. And the brother, well, the brother just defies description. You need to read the book to understand.
The thing I liked about this book was that it kept me guessing. It started out seeming like it was going to be a straightforward murder mystery, but with each new piece of evidence, the case seems to make less and less sense. Even when the killer is revealed, this person’s identity leaves the reader absolutely gobsmacked. And despite the fact that know the bad guy is going to lose out eventually, the suspense right up to the end is completely real.
The book isn’t perfect. It has a bit of a slow start, but starting with the second act, the tension level starts to ramp up and just keeps going until the highly satisfying ending. I recommend this book.