This novel is a blend of the crime genres whodunit and whydunit. DI Kelly Porter returns to her native Cumbria after a stint in the London Met, and is rewarded with two investigations, a child murder cold case, and a fresh case involving human trafficking and money laundering. The reader is left in little doubt about the identities of the criminal lowlifes involved in the latter investigation. But this does not detract from the tension that builds throughout. Will Kelly solve the case before innocent East European girls, seeking nothing more than to work in the UK, pay the ultimate price? However, while tackling this investigation, the cold case involving a child abduction and murder simmers in the background. Is the culprit still lurking within the local community? And is there any connection between the two investigations? The emotional drain on DI Kelly Porter is enormous.
The challenges these investigation pose Kelly supplement the tribulations she faces in her personal life. She has returned to her childhood home and her mother is apt to treat her like a misbehaving teenager. In addition there is the discomfort of ongoing sibling rivalry involving the relationship Kelly has with her sister. Throw into the mix the presence of an ex-boyfriend and a previous uncomfortable relationship with her now deceased, ex-police officer father, and the pressures soon stack up to hinder Kelly at every turn.
The plot is pedestrian and routine. It follows a well-trod crime mystery path, throwing in some needless titillation and some rather laughable violence. The denouement was similarly predictable. What dectracts more though were the plot-dependent factual errors that sprinkled the prose. The novel is supposedly the first of a series featuring DI Kelly Porter.
With a fast paced narrative, the short punchy chapters give the story momentum, and I’m sure aficionado of crime mysteries will not be disappointed. Unfortunately, I found myself unable to engage with the characters or the plot, so I’ll be giving any follow-up a miss.