cover image Dead End

Dead End

Sally Spencer. Severn, $28.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8874-7

Spencer’s improbable 13th police procedural set in 1970s Lancashire finds Det. Chief Insp. Monika Paniatowski still in the coma that she entered in 2017’s The Hidden. Her devoted colleagues—womanizer Colin Beresford, pugnacious Kate Meadows, and Oxford grad Jack Crane—continue to visit her hospital room and discuss the cases they’re working on, in particular the discovery of a decomposing male body, whose face has been obliterated and whose fingertips have been removed. Beresford and the others don’t know whether she’s even aware of their presence, but Monika does understand what they’re saying and believes a link may exist between the current victim and a murder case she worked on four years earlier. As the plot spins out into ever more unlikely circles, touching on rogue spies, greedy politicians, and dastardly gentlemen who attended posh public schools, Monika, who’s trapped within her unresponsive body, begins to realize she may be marked for murder. As usual, the dynamics of the police team are fun to watch. Hopefully, Spencer will ground Monica’s next outing in more realistic crimes. (June)