Simon and Schuster, May 3 2011, $15.00
Wintry Shipcott is cut off somewhat from the outside due to the blizzard conditions. The townsfolk are used to rough winters so think nothing of the snow falling. However, the residents become stunned and alarmed when something brutally murders an elderly woman in her bed.
The village police officer Jonas Holly knows he is over his head but feels a sense of urgency to catch the murderer. At the same time he deals with caring for his ailing wife Lucy. Obnoxious Detective Chief Investigator John Marvel takes over the case bullying anyone who fails to obey his command. When the predator scorns Holly’s skills, he stoically follows orders. However, as the body count mounts as do the letters of mockery, Holly decides to ignore the arrogant DCI to go it alone in order uncover the identity of the serial killer who he believes is a villager holding him responsible for a recent tragedy.
The dark and grim atmospheric English Moors (think of the Hound of the Baskervilles) make for a great psychological police procedural. The cast enhances the feeling of destined doom confronting the village cop while the egomaniacal DCI ignores advice from someone he considers in the ooze beneath the law enforcement food chain. With a great stunning ending, readers will appreciate Belinda Bauer’s whodunit (see Blacklands for her previous thriller).