The story starts in 2008 with new constable, PC Tom Ridpath, taking part in a vehicle stop which leads to the arrest of a man who is wanted for the kidnap of a prostitute. When the man runs off Ridpath follows him to a lock-up unit where he is in for a nasty surprise.
Ten years later and Constable Ridpath is now probationary DI Redpath. Returning to work after a serious illness Ridpath is tasked to work as the Coroner’s Liaison Officer.
The job as the Coroners Officer is not one Ridpath wants but he is given very little choice by the Senior Officers of the Manchester MIT. Take it or take a job somewhere else. If he can stick it out without any health relapses, then he can return to MIT.
What he, the Coroner, and the MIT don’t realise is the first case he is asked to deal with will bring everybody into conflict.
A recent spate of murders has the MIT baffled. Somebody is taking vulnerable women of the streets and killing them in some horrific ways before dumping the bodies.
The conviction, of the man Ridpath caught in 2008, has been brought into doubt and the Coroner reopens an inquest into the death of the one person they charged him with murdering.
Ridpath is a pariah to his old colleagues when he acts on the Coroners requests. They see him as an outsider for bringing doubt on the original investigation, but there is one young DS who starts to look on Ridpath as a voice of reason.
As the two investigations inevitably head for a head on collision a truly captivating story unfolds.
This is the first book I have read by M.J. Lee, and to be honest I cannot understand why I haven’t heard of him before.
This book had me drawn in from the beginning. The character Ridpath is flawed. Like most people that work in the Police he is target focused, to the point that his family come a distant second priority. His wife is driven to distraction by his attitude towards his ongoing treatment, and check-ups, following his illness.
He is split between wanting to do the right thing by the Coroner and doing what his ex-colleagues expect, which will allow him back onto the Major Investigation Team.
The murders that take place in this book are brutal, but are written in such a way that the narrative cuts away just when it’s getting too bad. M. J Lee has struck the balance perfectly.
The crimes and the investigations are multi-layered but not beyond comprehension. In fact the story is woven together brilliantly, and at no time are there any of those “I don’t believe it” moments.
I really enjoyed this book. It’s another one that is listed as “Book 1” so I’m hoping it’s the beginning of a series. If it is, what a start!
I can’t wait to read what happens next, especially after the last chapters little cliff hanger.