James Oswald returns with his second DC Constance Fairchild novel in Nothing to Hide, as strong and compelling an entry as his first in this new series, No Time to Cry. Fans of Oswald’s Inspector acClean series will recognize Oswald’s touch with creative characters and bringing his settings to life, with an added touch of something ‘other.’

On paid leave after her last case ended with several high-profile arrests within the police system, and including one of Britain’s wealthy power men, Con finds herself at loose ends trying to keep a low profile until a big trial, when she returns from time in the Highlands to her London flat, and comes across a mutilated young man who’s barely alive.

This is the first of a string of such mutilations which leave most of its victims dead, and Con is determined to find out who is responsible for these horrific acts, even as she receives the cold shoulder at work from some colleagues and strict instructions from her higher-ups to leave the investigation alone, especially when the National Crime Agency becomes involved.

Worse still, she’s hounded at home by the tabloid press and often can’t sleep in her own bed when her privileged upbringing comes back to haunt her. Oswald brings readers strong women to surround Con, from her neighbor who makes great coffee, Mrs. Feltham, to her Aunt Felicity; from a PC assigned to her, Karen Eve, who just might be a friend, to the fabulous Madame Rose.

But staying out of trouble and not investigating is not Con’s way, and soon she’s embroiled in a case that will take her to the most unlikely places, including Scotland, and even worse, back to her own home, with her title of Lady Constance.

While the evil is there for all to see, taking down the responsible parties is complicated. Con’s mother is involved; her brother is trying to keep the press away from his wedding; and then a friend in Scotland offers her an unlikely refuge to keep her face out of the papers and helps her go undercover.

Oswald doesn’t shirk from today’s issues plaguing young people, but balances them with Con’s sly humor. The Daily Mail calls this “A cracking story beautifully told,” and Auntie M heartily agrees. Highly recommended.