This is the fourth outing for DI Callanach and DCI Turner in what is mounting up to be one of the best crime/police procedural series I have read.
The body of a young girl is found and she has horrific wounds, shapes have been cut out of her skin and the full horror is not made apparent until the next girl is abducted and a 'ragdoll' is found at the scene. Meanwhile, someone is slicing the faces of homeless spice users in Edinburgh city, near to a private school. Are the two cases connected? Is someone taking rough justice out on those who have transgressed?
What makes these books special? Well, Turner and Callanach are intriguing characters, both strong yet flawed, and both good at what they do. The crimes are horrific and violent enough to satisfy crime fans. Edinburgh makes a great backdrop with its historical, granitey greyness. And they are just fantastically well written.
Bring on the fifth!
This is the second novel in Helen Field's DI Callanach Edinburgh crime series. Really, it should be Callanach & Turner series but that's by the by. In the middle of a music festival, someone brushes by a man and in an instant the man is gutted. Across Edinburgh so begins a series of bloody and brutal murders. On one hand, some of the murders are inventive and sadistic, carried out with macabre finesse and on the other hand murders are carried out that are violent, messy and primal. It's up to Callanach and Turner to solve these murders before anyone else dies.
Meanwhile an old flame of Turner's appears in Edinburgh, DCI Edgar - the star of the cyber crime force and a bit of an ass. Turner and he rekindle their romance much to Callanach's bemusement. Edgar is there to take down hacker wunderkind, Ben Paulson, but Ben is fast becoming one of Callanach's loyal, inner circle, putting Callanach on a crash course with Edgar.
Field's crime series, having read just the two so far, is probably one of the finest I have read, and I read a lot of crime. Yes, crime can be a bit formulaic: troubled detective, graphic crimes, conflict from the boss or other detectives, but Field's takes all of that and weaves a story around all of the elements while making her two central detectives very real and very likeable. Especially so when they are up against some really nasty people, not only the perpetrators but colleagues like Edgar (or Harris from the first book, Perfect Remains). I am totally on board for this series.
This is the first in the DI Callanach series by Helen Fields. I read a lot of crime fiction, by male and female authors, and most of it is good but occasionally one comes along that really impresses you, and this is one of those books. It features 2 main DIs : DI Luc Callanach, a half French half Scottish detective who has recently transferred from Lyon to Edinburgh under a cloud and DI Ava Turner, a feisty, laidback and amiable Scottish detective. Together they make a great investigating team, one you'll want to stay with.
A woman's body (isn't it always?) has been found in the Cairngorms. All signs point to it being the body of the recently reported missing lawyer, Elaine. Then another woman goes missing. Then another. The squad is under pressure to solve the case before any one else is taken. Meanwhile, Ava investigates a case involving newborn babies being found in an Edinburgh park. Luc and Ava become fast friends as they help each other out.
This isn't a whodunnit - we know from pretty much the outset who it is but it's the horror of what he is doing that keeps us reading. That and the hugely successful pairing of Luc and Ava who make a great investigating duo. An appearance by an infuriatingly smug consultant makes your blood boil and you really want him to get his comeuppance. All the characters are particularly well drawn and get under your skin.
This is really one of the best crime novels I have read, and I immediately went onto the next one in the series, Perfect Prey. Well worth your time.