Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.
When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.
The story opens with a chilling and atmospheric prologue, which is excellent, diving straight into the action with the murder of beautiful young socialite, Andrea Douglas-Brown. Her body is found by long term unemployed Lee Kinney, who has to work under the new legislation in order to draw his dole money. He secured a job as a council gardener at the Horniman Museum and discovered more than he bargained for when arriving for work one snowy morning.
DCI Erika Foster is brought in from the Manchester Metropolitan Police to lead the investigation, even though she should have been on administrative services after a police raid went horribly wrong resulting in several deaths, including that of her husband. The blame fell on Erika in the ensuing enquiry and now she has to restore her reputation in the eyes of her colleagues. She is thrown in at the deep end on arriving at Lewisham Row Police Station. Her efforts and authority are further hampered in this case by the objectionable DCI Sparks, who was in charge before Erika’s arrival, and the fact the parents of the murdered girl have the highest government connections.
Erika followed Marsh down a long, low corridor. Phones rang, and uniformed officers and support staff streamed by in the opposite direction, their pasty January faces tense and urgent. A fantasy football league pinned up on the wall slid past, and seconds later, an identical pin board held rows of photos with the heading: killed in the line of duty. Erika closed her eyes, only opening them when she was confident she had passed. She nearly crashed into Marsh, who had stopped at a door marked INCIDENT ROOM. She could see through the half-open blinds of the glass partition that the room was full. Fear crawled up her throat. She was sweating under her thick jacket. Marsh grabbed the door handle.
‘Sir, you were going to brief me before -‘ started Erika.
‘No time,’ he said. Before Erika had a chance to respond, he had opened the door and indicated she should go first.
I enjoyed the descriptive writing and the twists in the plot. The characters are, in the main, believable and well defined. Erika is a strong female lead and it’s obvious she’s still suffering but it’s equally as obvious she cares about her work, and is determined to solve the case, despite the obstacles thrown in her way, some of which come from her own department. She soon earns the respect of her team, most notably Moss and Peterson. But for me Erika’s seeming rudeness and refusal to obey orders, her recklessness and impulsiveness, sometimes seems unprofessional and irresponsible for such a senior detective, and especially after her last case went so drastically wrong. The ending, though, was a complete surprise and I’ll be interested to see how Erika develops and how she approaches her next case.
The narration wasn’t one of my favourites and may have caused unfavourable impressions of some of the characters. Erika’s ‘voice’ in particular didn’t endear her to me, much as I wanted to like her. The narrator sounded bored and uninterested a lot of the time, the intonation generally wasn’t good. So maybe I didn’t have the best introduction to this book. I will definitely be reading the next one.
About Robert Bryndza
The second book in the series, The Night Stalker, is a Wall Street Journal no.1 bestseller, and the third book, Dark Water, is available to pre-order and will be released October 20th 2016.
Robert’s books have sold over a million copies and have been translated into 18 languages.
In addition to writing Crime Fiction, Robert has published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels. He is British and lives in Slovakia with his Slovak husband Ján.