Thursday, October 17, 2013
Backlash by Lynda La Plante
Police pull over a van being driven erratically in the London borough of Hackney. Inside they find a woman's body and take the driver in for questioning. He realizes that he is definitely going down for the murder and starts to brag about other murders he has committed. He drops hints that one of his former victims may have been the station's most celebrated cold case; the kidnapping of a thirteen year old girl five years before.
Before more details can be extracted, the murderer, Oates, changes his mind and recants everything he has said. But the police inspector in charge, DCI Mike Lewis, believes the confessions and starts an inquiry into the possible other murders. His Chief Inspector, James Langdon, was the DCI in charge of the young girl's disappearance, and his ability to solve the case has been a nagging issue for him. Langdon is out on sick leave, but insists on being kept up to date on progress. He also brings in his best detective, DCI Anna Travis, to concentrate on the girl's case while the other case inquiries proceed. While there is some tension between Lewis and Travis, they soon realize that they need to work together as more and more layers of Oates crimes becomes apparent. They soon realize that this is no common murderer, but a serial killer who has victims going back several years to his credit.
This is the eighth Anna Travis novel written by Lynda La Plante. It is an engrossing police procedural, both pointing out the detailed investigation involved, and the constraints the police must work under. Bits of evidence that seem to point to guilt can be turned around as proof of innocence or police harassment that can free a suspect. The investigation is fascinating, and the interplay between the officers involved realistic. The murder suspect and the way his mind and actions are revealed layer by layer are extremely well done. This book is recommended for mystery lovers.