A Velvet Scream: A Joanna Piercy Mystery

Priscilla Masters. Severn, $28.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8109-0

In Masters’s solid 10th Joanna Piercy mystery (after 2009’s Grave Stones), the Staffordshire detective inspector faces three challenges: a disciplinary hearing, her fast approaching wedding day, and the near death and possible rape of 14-year-old Kayleigh Harrison, who was found early one morning almost naked and drunk in the snow outside Patches nightclub. Frustrated by a lack of physical clues and Kayleigh’s impaired recall of events, Piercy and her crew are stymied, not even sure a crime has been committed. A similar case in a nearby town and the later disappearance of underage Molly Carraway from the same club put pressure on the force. In addition to delving into the family lives of the three girls, the police investigate Patches staff members and male patrons, with disturbing results. Masters doesn’t settle for easy answers as Piercy’s increasing anxiety about her forthcoming wedding provides a constant drumbeat to the desperate search for Molly. (Mar.)
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