Riverrun | 13 May 2021 | 336 pgs
In the previous third installment, DS Alexandra Cupidi solved a case involving a developing site but the outcome (plus some past awful experiences) had left her suffering from post-traumatic stress; thus in this book she is taking her leave and is assigned to a desk job doing data analysing. But of course this doesn't stop Alex from snooping around and observing things especially after her hefty interception between a knife-wielding woman and a newlywed (gay) couple. Alex has no idea about her heightened sense of danger and insecurity ever since her last investigation, but she sure is intrigued by the dynamics between the newlywed couple and the older woman who doesn't seem to be mentally well but is adamant that one of them had killed her son.
On the other end, Alex's colleague, Officer Jill Ferriter is charged with investigating the murders of a couple after a delivery woman discovered their naked corpses in their home. The only clue is a bloody message and most perplexing of all, why would they order some mundane groceries which are less than forty dollars? Based on initial interviews, Jill learned that Aylmer and Mary Younis were both nice and reserved people who have no enemies and only have a handicapped son who stays at a special care facility. Upon further investigation, they learned that the Younises had made investments in a green reforestry scheme in Guatemala but have lost their savings. But that is not all, they've also found a list of other investors, including Alex's ex-colleague and long-time friend, Bill South (There's a history surrounding the dynamics between Alex and Bill over a past case and this resulted a somewhat awkward strain in their friendship but new readers would be able to understand through some scattered snippets and their conversations.)
I've mentioned before that I love William Shaw's writing and his storytelling, but I've to say the settings he created for each of the story is another big draw and most of them revolve around the nature and the wildlife theme. In this book, he takes us to the sea and gives us more than a glimpse about the fishing community of Folkestone, trawling and the dangers alongside the job. I find I've learned something after reading his books.
And despite Alex isn't active in terms of running the investigation in this book, she still prove herself to be proactive and capable of analysing the situation while battling with her own demons and the PTSD. Her relationship and her banter with her teenage daughter, Zoe, felt relatable and again I've to applaud the author for his fleshed out characters, the complexity of human connections and the humanity being portrayed in his books. This is one series I'd recommend to follow and I hope that we'll get to see Alex back on her feet in the next installment.
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