Lynda La Plante
Simon and Schuster, Jul 7 2009, $24.99
Frank Brandon left the murder squad unit to become a chauffeur for a minor drug dealer before marrying wealthy Julia Kendal. He was allegedly happy and had money to waste; so had no reason to be found murdered in a fetid dumpy flat in slummy Warren Estate.
Murder Squad Detective Inspector Anna Travis fears Brandon’s homicide means the return from the dead of her former partner Anthony Collingwood, who left her without warning with two kids and a lot of money almost a decade ago. Anthony is better known as Alexander Fitzpatrick, once the nation’s leading drug kingpin, but out of sight for years. In spite of other associates of Fitzpatrick being assassinated, Anna’s superior DCI Carol Cunningham disagrees as no proof has surfaced that the former criminal mastermind is alive. Unbeknownst to the cops including Anna’s worried about her former lover DCS James Langton, Fitzpatrick had major facial surgery in Mexico and has come home to flood the country with the deadly painkiller Fentanyl.
The latest Travis British police procedural (see ABOVE SUSPICION, CLEAN CUT and THE RED DAHLIA) is an excellent investigative tale that hooks the audience with the inquiry as much as the intriguing look back at the heroine’s past. The story line is fast-paced even with a vividly detailed investigation as the prime cast makes this a top rate thriller. In a way the relationships between Anna and the two main men in her past, Anthony and James, make for a super triangle that enhances a strong mystery.