cover image Death Toll

Death Toll

Jim Kelly. Minotaur, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-312-57352-2

The chilly atmosphere of a British seacoast winter saturates Kelly's moody third police procedural featuring hard-driving West Norfolk Det. Insp. Peter Shaw and seedy, aging Det. Sgt. George Valentine, Shaw's late father's partner (after 2010's Death Watch). Appropriately, the novel focuses on two cold cases. Relocating a graveyard unearths the remains of a mixed-race young man who disappeared 28 years earlier, found atop the coffin of a murdered woman. Meanwhile, the detectives are trying to snare the sleek, ruthless murderer whose escape from justice, years before, thoroughly blighted the careers of Valentine and Shaw's father. The police must grope%E2%80%94sometimes literally%E2%80%94through a fog, in a tightly knit community where people don't know their neighbors as well as they imagine. And new murders prove that the past refuses to stay buried. Strong characterization more than compensates for some murky action. (June)