Bauer (Blacklands, which was shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger) joins such contemporary masters of psychological suspense as Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters with her twisted and tricky second novel, set in the Somerset village of Shipcott. When someone uses a pillow to suffocate Margaret Priddy, who was paralyzed below the neck after a riding accident three years earlier, Det. Chief Insp. John Marvel, the cynical head of the local CID, chews out an inexperienced police constable, Jonas Holly, for contaminating the crime scene. Some suspect a mercy killing, possibly by her son, a corrections officer. Apart from Marvel's scorn, Holly must contend with beloved wife Lucy's multiple sclerosis as well as the taunts of the killer, who leaves insulting notes that call his professional abilities into question. More deaths follow, and tension among the police ratchets up. The shattering conclusion pulls no punches and will leave many readers stunned, even as they realize how everything fits together. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011 Release date: 05/01/2011 Genre: Fiction
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