Maureen Ellis is a keen reader in the crime genre. She regularly posts on Goodreads.com
The prologue sets the scene perfectly for this gripping police procedural from Matthew Frank.
It's November 1984, and the opening scene creates a sombre mood, when a corpse is found partially submerged in the murky waters of Deptford Creek, London. No ID is found on the body, the only clue being a self-administered tattoo with just the one word - Billie.
Five years later on a cold wet November night in 1989, a sixteen year old girl has gone missing; an elderly couple hear screams outside their home, and as they peek out, they can just make out two figures in a struggle. The wife calls police whilst the husband ventures outside, but all he finds is a handbag on the pavement. A police search commences, and PC Michael Groombridge is left guarding the crime scene. The rain has turned into a deluge, and the young PC is cold, wet and miserable, but he will have very good reason to remember this night some twenty years later.
Fast forward to 2010, and Thomas & Mary Chase have been found shot dead in their home. Thought initially to be a burglary gone wrong, DS Joseph Stark has reason to believe otherwise. Michael Groombridge (now a DCI) is in charge of the murder investigation team along with DS Stark and DS Fran Millhaven. It's a good team, though both Fran and DCI Groombridge have concerns about DS Stark. He has some serious psychological issues after serving with the British Forces in Afghanistan. He almost lost his life, but his actions earned him the Victoria Cross. DS Stark though inconsequence of his military service, is a very damaged individual.
This storyline, though complex, was totally gripping, and well put together, and had me gripped right the way through. The latter chapters in particular, were just breathtaking, moving along at breakneck speed, and dragging this willing reader along at much the same pace. The characters were completely believable, and I have to say that for me personally it was without question, a five star read.