This novel provides an insight into the early career of Detective Jane Tennison, who you may be familiar with from the Prime Suspect crime series. At this point she is based in Gerald Road Police Station, Knightsbridge, having had her spell in the elite Flying Squad cut short abruptly. Jane is feeling frustrated by the tedium of dealing with petty crime on a daily basis, when the body of a well-known theatrical agent Charlie Foxley is discovered.  He has been brutally murdered, his body dismembered and disembowelled. This is the opportunity Jane has been waiting for, to re-establish her credibility as an up and coming professional, despite the chauvinistic, male dominated environment she is working in.

The novel is fast paced, with many twists and turns in the plot. In it we are introduced to Charlie’s immediate family, key figures in the showbiz industry and other powerful individuals who featured in his life. Although superficially Charlie is a successful businessman, it soon becomes clear that all is not as it seems. His sexual perversions are uncovered – the regular visits to a dominatrix and some of the other hidden aspects of his existence.

Once the investigation is underway, Jane has very little time for anything else but work. However, through accepting an invitation to undertake firearms training, at a private gun club, she is unwittingly drawn into Operation Countryman an undercover inquiry into police corruption.

I found this an addictive thriller, which kept me gripped from the first page to the last and it made for a swift read. However – as with many crime novels as this book is primarily driven by the storyline and I’m not sure how much discussion it would generate in a book group.

Review by Hilary Whorrall

Publisher: Zaffre (Hardback)
ISBN: 978-1-78576-985-6
Published: August 2020