Detective Inspector Marjory Fleming is juggling the demands of family life - two teenage kids, a husband and an ailing farm business - and the demands of a working life whose hours are elastic and often see her making decisions that fall in favour of the job and against her family. Something has to give. This is just one strand in a book in which Aline Templeton weaves a series of events and interconnected lives into a gripping story which keeps you on the edge of your seat until the final turn of the page.
Lovatt Island is just off the coast of south west Scotland, overlooked by the fictional tourist village of Innellan, not far from to Kirkcudbright. Two young boys, out in their father's boat, go into a seldom visited cave on the far side of the island and chance on a grim discovery - the skeleton of a man, shackled to the wall on a shelf near the roof, with a modern watch on its wrist. The island is owned by Matt Lovatt, ex-military and an incomer, now trying to run a deer farm, manage his nervy wife Lissa, and provide a home and work for other disabled ex-military personnel. In a village where incomers are rarely welcomed into the community, Matt becomes the centre of a series of escalating crimes, but no one is telling who is carrying them out.
Meanwhile, Elena Tindall, wife of successful businessman Eddie, is tired of keeping up the pretences of her charmed life as a kept woman. The ex-prostitute frequently takes refuge from her home in Manchester by visiting up-market spas and retreats. Eddie never asks where she goes, being grateful that she always comes back to him, but he always checks her accounts and knows exactly where she is. Now she has headed off on a trip and he can't trace her. It is like she has disappeared. No cash withdrawals from her account, no credit card payments for a hotel or meals. And that is exactly what she intended. Elena has headed to Innellan, to a chalet overlooking Lovatt Island, to complete some unfinished business that she hopes will calm her troubled soul.
This is a superbly crafted novel. In it we also follow the fortunes of Cat, daughter of DI Fleming, as she heads off to University in Glasgow, Lissa, damaged wife of Matt Lovatt as she struggles to come to terms with the loss of her child, Kerr Brodie and Christie Jack, ex-military, for whom Innellan is a refuge from the horrors of war, Matt himself, maimed in action and fighting his own demons, the DI and her team, plus the seemingly damaged members of the local community whose own chequered pasts make them reluctant to speak out. Their stories are told separately, but are woven together beautifully, building the tension and the drama of this excellent book. Evil for Evil is an extremely satisfying read.