Detective Anna Travis' worst nightmare comes true when a sadistic killer she helped put behind bars claims he can help her with a murder investigation.
A redhead, clad in snappy suits and starched collars, Lynda La Plante’s Detective Inspector Anna Travis has crime investigation in her blood. Her late father was a detective chief superintendent and his smart, sexy daughter eats and sleeps the job – eats from a microwave and sends her linen and clothes out to be laundered and dry-cleaned. Anna is no longer the rookie of the earlier novels – this is the sixth book in the detective series by La Plante – and she is brought in to join a team of detectives on a triple murder investigation.
An unidentified young woman’s body has been dumped close to a highway service station, a favourite late-night pull-in for truckies seeking coffee, a fry-up … and more. The police are well aware of the prostitutes and it becomes evident that the victim, who was raped and strangled, displays the same MO (modus operandi) as two other unsolved murders of young women in the area.
In true La Plante style, the police station is vividly set up: incident board pinned with photographs, piles of statements and files, press calls and briefings. Yet when the trail goes cold, the murder team is forced to take seriously a chilling offer of assistance from sadistic killer Cameron Welsh, serving life in a secure prison unit.
Anna was part of the team that arrested him for the torture and rape of his female victims, whom he held captive for months in the cellar of his large house before burying one of them in his garden. Welsh, an obsessive, highly intelligent killer, defended himself at his trial and has taken a degree in child psychology while in jail. Reluctantly, Anna and her sidekick relent and allow him to view the case work.
Welsh revels in studying developments in the latest case and clearly gets as much of a thrill from discussing the mind-set and anatomy of a sex killer as he does from seeing Anna in the flesh. Pacey and menacing, La Plante’s narrative is filmic, putting the reader side by side with DI Anna Travis through every step of the investigation.
Welsh has a warning for Anna, telling her, with relish, that behind the most welcoming of front doors and most amiable of family men lurks an animal and a hunter. In the hands of La Plante, the now veteran DI Travis is well aware of this – and she will only solve the serial killings at the cost of the most terrible of personal sacrifices.