Published: May 2020 by riverrun
Category: Crime, Suspense, Environmental, Book Review
A BIZARRE DISCOVERY
An unidentified cadaver is found in a freezer in an unoccupied luxury house. No-one seems to know or care who it is or who placed it there. When DS Alexandra Cupidi is handed the case, she can have no idea it will lead her to a series of murderous cover-ups and buried secrets. Namely the discovery of the skeleton of public-school boy, Trevor Grey, beneath a housing development.
Grave’s End begins with a unique viewpoint—that of an old badger. In fact, a small but significant thread throughout the story is about the badger and how he survives. Due to the proposed development of a site for housing the badgers’ habitat is declining and, along with this disruption, they have to contend with the increasing lack of food, plus other dangers posed by humans. As the diggers cause the badgers’ tunnels to collapse, more are dug out, which is how human bones were unearthed.
When an an estate agent takes his girlfriend into a house the company have up for sale, with a bottle of Prosecco and thoughts of fun in the huge house, the last thing they expected was to find a body crammed into the freezer, when all they were looking for was somewhere to chill the Prosecco.
DS Alexandra Cupidi and DC Jill Ferriter have a cold case to solve, as well as a recent murder. The mystery of the bones is solved fairly quickly but ties in with the murder investigation. Local people are campaigning against the building of more houses and wildlife enthusiast Zoë, Alex’s daughter, is involved in the protests and knows the murdered man, as does former local copper Bill South.
They ran back into the darkness outside, holding the picture. Bill South was standing in the dim light at the end of the row of houses, still shaking out the last of the moths from the boxes.
Alex held up the drawing. ‘Do you recognise this man?’
South looked, then said, “So he’s dead, then?’ Bill South was an ex copper; he knew what a photo like this would mean.
The investigation takes an unexpected turn with a seemingly unconnected death, and rapidly develops into a much darker and complex case involving contentious issues, taking Alex into dangerous situations as past and present are linked.
The plot unfolds with several surprise twists and is well crafted, starting slowly, steadily gaining momentum and suspense and includes corrupt people in power, historic abuse and, of course, murder. Character development is clear as we learn more about the main players — Alex, Zoë, Jill and Bill South — how they interact and the growing relationships between them.
As always, the book is full of atmosphere and detail about the area, highlighting the conflict surrounding much needed housing against the destruction of the countryside and the effect on wildlife habitats.
Last night, the van missed him by a whisker. He barely noticed it; made it across the road and spent time feasting on worms like he had not for days. But on his way back to the sett, he smelt blood. Approaching cautiously, he dimly saw the dark lump on the edge of the tarmac.