Published: 25th January 2018
Category: Crime, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Police Procedural, Book Review
Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.
Ava Turner, newly promoted to DCI after the retirement of her friend, former boss and mentor, DCI Begbie, is still finding her feet both in her professional and private life. Her colleagues on the Major Investigations Team feel the distance her promotion has caused and their interactions are now less casual, particularly the friendship between Ava and Luc, now she’s the boss. When Begbie’s body is found in his car, a distressed Ava refuses to accept or believe he’s committed suicide, as the scene suggests. She decides to do her own investigating and uncovers more than she bargained for, placing her in terrible danger.
Meanwhile the body of a teenage girl has been found up near Arthur’s Seat. The initial signs point to hypothermia, no foul play involved. But as the investigation progresses it seems someone is engineering people’s deaths and things begin to point to a sinister killer on the loose in Edinburgh. So, along with trying to find the perpetrator, Luc has a visit from his French mother to contend with. They haven’t spoken since Luc was accused of rape while working for Interpol.
I enjoyed getting reacquainted with the team – Callanach, Ava, Dr Ailsa Lambert, Lively and Tripp. DS Lively’s quips about, and banter with, Luc (gorgeous, half French and an ex model) bring a flash of humour to the narrative.
‘Did you find DI Callanach?’ Ava asked.
‘I did. We checked the men’s toilet first. He’s usually to be found not far from a mirror. Surprisingly though in this instance he was out doing some actual detective work, ma’am.’
‘Thanks for that, DS Lively. If you’ve finished your jibes you might like to tell me what case your commanding officer is attending.’
Lively grinned. He and Callanach didn’t have the best of relationships to begin with although more recently they’d settled for casual avoidance and occasional insults.
Written in the third person, with several sections from the viewpoint of the killer, the main plots run concurrently with twists making it almost impossible to work out where the story was going. Callanach is as complex and engaging as ever, the psychological and physical repercussions of his past still following him. I’m enjoying the character development and learning more about each of them. Ava and Luc are strong protagonists and there’s a great cast of secondary characters. I’m not convinced senior and experienced police officers would put themselves in dangerous situations without back up or letting colleagues know where they were going. That aside, this is another solid addition to the series and I will look forward to the next instalment.
I chose to read and review Perfect Death based on an advance reader copy of the book supplied by NetGalley and the author/publisher.
Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information. A former barrister, Helen now writes a Scottish set crime series – D.I.Callanach and D.I. Ava Turner. Her debut novel Perfect Remains and the second in the series Perfect Prey are Amazon best sellers. Her next book ‘Perfect Death’ is due out on 25 January 2018. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, and lives with her husband and three children.