Auntie M is a huge fan of Alison Bruce’s DC Gary Goodhew series. She’s back with the sixth in the series, The Promise, and found it as compelling a read as the others in this series with the unusual protagonist, still recovering from injuries suffered in the sad and dramatic ending of The Backs, which has left him and several colleagues still reeling.

Whether Gary is up to returning yet is somewhat beside the point when the body of a homeless man who knew is found on Market Hill. The unusual signature of the murderer has the team scouring local haunts and reviewing CCTV tapes for witnesses, but as usual Gary has his own unique way of working a case.

Kyle Davidson, undoubtedly suffering from PTSD from the Afghan War, has a wife he barely tolerates and a baby boy he adores. The marriage is over, but an action by his wife sends him spiraling into a desperate scramble to protect his son, his sister and his mother. Does he tell what he knows and hope to save them all, or will that put him squarely into the bulls eye of a merciless killer?

The the investigation twists with a rented garage is found to have only one thing inside: a freezer containing the body of a murdered young woman, bearing the same signature as the homeless man. Suddenly the hunt is on for a serial killer and no one, it seems will be safe.

In Gary’s personal life, his grandmother and his police mentor have both been keeping a secret from Gary, one that happened when he was a small boy, and one that threatens now to destroy him unless they can tell him before he founds out from someone else. Although there were good reasons for keeping this secret at the time, it’s unclear how Gary will feel once he finds out he’s been lied to all these years by the very people he thought he could trust most.

Bruce’s menacing plot keep increasing as the tensions rises, all against the backdrop of Cambridge and the very different mind of a young man with incredible instincts who runs against the pack. Steve Mosby calls Bruce: “A superb writer,” and Auntie M heartily agrees.