My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a well written police procedural that rattles along at a great pace and is an entertaining read. It involves Detective Inspector Kim Stone who is based in the Black Country area of England and her team. Kim has a lot of baggage having been brought up in a children’s home but before that having spent years in a broken family on a tough housing estate.
When a body is discovered in the grounds of an old children’s home the investigation raises all sorts of problems for Kim and her team. Not least are the old memories it triggers in her. And then the bodies of more of the young children who had been living at the home are dug up and Kim knows she has to find a killer with a big secret to hide. There are a collection of the usual suspects who were involved in running the home before it closed as well as a motley collection of girls who lived there when it was open. Kim has to tolerate a conservative MP and his overbearing wife and sympathise with an old caretaker who is the sole carer for his daughter. Each character is suitably developed and gives added depth to the story.
The issue of children protection and how society addresses this crucial role is an important theme running through the novel. There are scenes written from the perspective of the killer too which adds to the sense of drama and tension.
I found the American usages an unnecessary intrusion : ‘medical examiner’ are commonly called pathologists in the UK, practising barristers cannot be partners in law firm and police officers are never called detectives in the UK. But it did nothing to spoil an enjoyable read.
All the loose ends are tied up and there is a suitably satisfying twist at the end.