The Silent Conversation

Caro Ramsay. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-9076-4

Set in Glasgow, Scotland, Ramsay’s engrossing 13th procedural featuring Det. Chief Insp. Colin Anderson and Det. Insp. Freddie Costello (after On an Outgoing Tide) effectively juggles multiple plotlines without straining credulity. Four years after four-year-old Johnny Clearwater’s 2017 disappearance, the child’s fate remains unknown, leading his mother to make another public appeal for information. Though Anderson suspects the boy is long dead, he’s forced to reconsider after traces of Johnny’s DNA are found on the face of murder victim Rachel Sinclair. Sinclair, a former flight attendant, was attacked by an unknown man while she was dressed in a police uniform. An off-duty cop, who saw a man fleeing the scene, tried to revive the unconscious Sinclair rather than give chase. The assault was witnessed by Carol Holman, who passed out while calling the police and kept quiet about what she saw. Holman is revealed to have survived being victimized by the so-called Night Hunter, a serial killer who was caught by Anderson and Costello. Ramsay shifts perspectives among investigators, witnesses, and victims to keep readers guessing. This is an intelligent nail-biter. Agent: Jane Gregory, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.). (Dec.)