Eighteen-year-old Chloe Emery returns home to her mother after a week away with her father, but is met by a terrifying sight. Her home is covered in bloodstains and her mother, Kate, has vanished. The police, including newly promoted Detective Sergeant Maeve Kerrigan, soon find that the blood belongs to Kate and a murder investigation begins – but with no body, any investigation is going to be difficult.
Luckily (?) there is plenty of suspicious behaviour in the locale – the Norrises, parents of Chloe’s best friend, are extremely religious, bordering on the fanatical. William Turner, another neighbour, was accused of stabbing a school mate. And when a second disappearance occurs, Maeve and her team find themselves in a race against time to stop a killer from striking again. And again…
Every now and then, publishers send me emails promoting a new release. Often I ignore them, but this time, the blurb struck me as interesting and I thought I’d give it a go. And I’m glad that I did.
The tale is suitably complex and, after a slowish start, picks up pace in the second half of the book. Despite the modern police procedural format, there is a traditional mystery at the heart of the tale, and the characters are an interesting group. They are all suitably unpleasant individuals, so it is hard at times to find someone to attach your sympathies too, but the author does a good job of keeping the circle of suspects small and ensuring that all of them are involved in some way, shape or form, in the grand scheme of things.
One issue – this is book seven of the Maeve Kerrigan series and I felt that I had to do some guesswork to work out the relationships between the recurring characters, especially between Kerrigan and her DI, Derwent. There is a rumour amongst their colleagues that they have slept together but apparently the truth is quite different – although readers joining the series at this point will find themselves as much in the dark as those colleagues as the two characters’ pasts is kept vague. It’s not crucial to the tale, but I felt that I made it harder to get a feel for the pair.
Still, an engrossing modern police procedural with more than one sting in the tail, and definitely worth your time. I may well be back to this series soon. Recommended.
Let The Dead Speak is published by Harper Collins on 9th March 2017. Many thanks for the review copy.