Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Darker Side-Shirley Wells

A Darker Side
Shirley Wells
Soho, Jun 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9781569475096

Former forensic psychologist Jill Kennedy left police work following a suicide on her last profiling case. She moved to remote Kelton Bridge planning to author books and never to work a police investigation again.

However, her former lover, Lancashire DCI Max Trentham pleads with Jill to assist him on the investigation into the murder of teenager Martin Hayden; the victim had disappeared only to reappear floating in a canal with his head fractured. She reluctantly agrees to assist him and they soon interview Martin’s mother, Josie, who admits he was not the biological son of her spouse George, but that of a traveling salesman. Soon after their meeting, someone kills Josie and another teenager. Max thinks serial killer, but Jill feels otherwise as the link remains Martin, which may mean Josie’s past is the key element.

This is an engaging British police procedural starring a reliable cop who becomes desperate when his son is threatened (though that subplot seems too off kilter to believe) and a reluctant profiler who works the case differently than the officials. The key to this fine whodunit is that Jill and Max though still attracted to each other don’t jump into each other’s arms. Although the climax is obvious, A DARKER SIDE is a fine psychological profile police procedural (see INTO THE SHADOWS for Max’s previous case).

Harriet Klausner