The book opens with a strong introduction: “I was waiting for a man who was planning to die.” It then recounts Max’s conviction and actions that save the day and become the catalyst for his transfer to the Homicide and Serious Crime Command to work under DCI Victor Mallory.
Despite his love for dogs and coffee, coupled with insistent insomnia, this single parent is tenacious as he tackles the trail of serial killer who cuts throats and gets away without leaving evidence behind. The first victim, investment banker Hugo Buck, has a lovely wife he abuses and a history that is sparked by a photograph he keeps on his desk: what looks like seven young soldiers in the 80’s.
The photograph is a key clue for Max as the killings continue and it becomes obvious that the young men in that photograph are targets. And it’s up to Max to find the perpetrator before they’re all murdered.
With his young daughter, Scout, a reasonable housekeeper in the form of Mrs. Murphy, and that adorable King Charles Cavalier Spaniel, Stan, Max struggles to keep up with this canny killer. But don’t let these domestic details fool you into thinking this is anything resembling a romantic read. There is pathos in Max’s home situation as he struggles to adjust to raising his daughter alone and is determined to do right by her.
There are also some lovely lines in here that add texture to Max: “I tried to look beyond the blood and the horror. I tried to look at what had once been a man.”
This is an auspicious opener for what promises to be one heck of series and Auntie M is looking forward to the next installment. Highly recommended.