When the body of a man is discovered in woodlands outside Manchester, a ten-year missing-persons investigation can finally be filed away. But this was no ordinary death: gagged, bound and buried alive, he was the victim of a sophisticated and sadistic killer. And there is something else that has the National Crime Agency puzzled. A single character carved into a nearby tree.
Newly promoted to the NCA's Behavioural Sciences Unit, Senior Investigator Joanne Stuart is determined to hunt down the perpetrator. Just as Jo's investigation begins to reveal links with other disappearances, there is another murder. This is no longer a cold case; she is dealing with the escalating violence of a chilling serial killer.
Stepping into a sinister world of secrets, symbols and rituals, Jo will have to confront the legacy of her own past and the violent memories that lurk there if she is going to solve this case. But at what cost?
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I feel like celebrating because I managed to stumble into an enjoyable crime series at the beginning. It seems that I always manage to find them after multiple books have been published and then I end up playing catch up. Not this time around though and it is a definite bonus that this appears to be a series that I will be following.
This series is set in England and seeing the differences between their police department and the one we have here in the States was quite interesting. You can tell that their focus is more on the keeping the peace while avoiding violence whereas we are seeing more and more cases of police brutality here. Heck Jo isn't even armed with a handgun while she is on duty.
While there are definite differences, people are people no matter where they live. As a woman, she has to deal with the old guard who don't feel that females can do the job. And killer exist everywhere. I really enjoyed getting to know Jo who is a strong woman and a great character. Just watching her investigation was enough to keep me glued to the pages until the very end.
I also very much enjoyed a peek into the world of the Masons. Of course it was just a peek since they are such a secretive society as far as their rituals are concerned.
I do recommend this book to any of my readers who enjoy police procedural books as well as anyone who enjoys books set in England. I can't wait to read the next book in this series.