Flashback: A fire is blazing at One Pacific Square, an under-construction multi-billion-pound regeneration project. There are sightings of a man waving from a window in the building. He is trapped by the fire.
The firemen of the Red Watch from the London Fire Brigade were the first responders to the burning building. They failed to save the life of Eric Whitlock, a notorious money launderer and the only person in the unoccupied building for reasons unknown.
Whitlock was rumoured to have worked for a mysterious, elusive figure called the ‘Handyman’. The Handyman is a criminal mastermind and may have planned the heist of a considerable sum of money. The five firefighters quit the London Fire Brigade a short time later. Some live a lifestyle above and beyond what would be expected from their new jobs and pensions.
Several years later: DI Alex Finn, the lead character, has returned to full-time duty following the sad demise of his wife, Karin. Many of his fellow officers are suspicious of his early return and wonder if his state of mind can cope with the pressures of the complex investigation. DC Mathilde (Mattie) Paulsen joins Finn’s team. Mattie also carries past secrets, which might mar her judgement.
Finn & Mattie are assigned a new case when a newly married man’s charred body is discovered in a hotel bathroom. This is the start of seemingly random killings, but as the body count mounts, Finn and Mattie realize there could be a link between the Pacific Square fire and the current spate of killings.
As a minor subplot is tantalized throughout the book by a riddle left by his late wife, “How far does a blind dog go into a forest?” He ends up smacking his forehead with the realization that the answer is “until he reaches the other side.”
The novel is exciting, but one of those where there are so many characters keeping track of them is difficult. Four stars from me.
Andrew R Williams
Website – https://andrewrwilliamsauthor.co.uk/
Author of the Tipham Trilogy and the Arcadia’s Children Sci-fi series