cover image The Cutting Room

The Cutting Room

Ashley Dyer. Morrow, $26.99 (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-279770-4

This addictive sequel to 2018’s Splinter in the Blood from British author Dyer (the pen name of Margaret Murphy and Helen Pepper) puts Liverpool Det. Chief Insp. Greg Carver and Det. Sgt. Ruth Lake on the trail of the Ferryman, a serial killer believed responsible for the disappearances of as many as 12 men over half a year. Soon after Mick Tennent, the host of a TV show called Fact or Fable?, airs a program on the missing men, he himself vanishes, and police receive an email stating that the “Ferryman is no fable.” The case takes a macabre turn when a message from the killer directs the police to what appears to be an art installation attached to scaffolding in front of a commercial building; the installation includes sections of three human brains, each within a disk of Plexiglas. This gruesome display gains the Ferryman a legion of followers on social media, some of whom work to stymie the official inquiry. Chapters narrated by the Ferryman heighten the suspense. Though the plot, complete with Carver and Lake keeping secrets from each other, is nothing new, the material is fresh enough to keep readers turning the pages. Fans of British police procedurals will be well satisfied. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (June)