Scared to Live
Bantam, May 2008, $25.00
In the Peak District, Devonshire Detective Sergeant Diane Fry leads the investigation into a deadly fire. She knows that the majority of these infernos are caused by faulty wiring, but whenever a death like this occurs, CID checks into it. In this case, Lindsay Mullen died in her room apparently confused as to how to escape, and two of her young children Liam and Jack died in their beds while the family patriarch Brian got out with minor burns and smoke inhalation as he was trying to get into the house having not been there when the fire began; he is in Edendale General. A third child, an eighteen months old daughter is missing.
At the same time that Fry wishes Detective Constable Ben Cooper had the case as he understands children better than anyone at the precinct, he investigates the apparent sniper death of cloistered Rose Shepherd in her home during the early hours of the morning. Postman Bernie Wilding had stopped to deliver a package, but she failed to answer. His case is going nowhere as no one saw or heard anything. Unbeknownst to Cooper, a witness fails to come forward as Darren Turnbull was sneaking out of the neighbor’s house and saw a big black car, probably Japanese stop and take off. Fry’s inquiries also seem to go nowhere, but soon her investigation and that of Cooper connect.
Although the link between the Mullen fiery deaths and the Shepherd assassination is a stretch wider than the Atlantic, English police procedural fans will enjoy this fast-paced thriller that rotates investigations until they tie together leading to a fabulous final twist. The cast is strong especially the lead cops and their immediate police support teams. However, it is the cases that grip the audience as suspense mounts while the DS and the DC struggle with difficult investigations in their latest Peak District tale (see THE DEAD PLACE and ONE LAST BREATH).