Perfect Prey - Helen Fields

So….2 big announcements to kick off this review. For the first time in ages I picked up a book that sent me into hiding so I could read uninterrupted by those pesky people who claim to be family.

 

Second, we have an early front runner for my world famous “ Dickhead of the Year ” Award * (* fiction category, not to be confused with the one bestowed on a real person). You know those characters you love to loathe? Well, keep your blood pressure meds nearby. This book has one that made me wish I could reach through the pages and smack the daylights out of. More on that later.

 

This is book #2 in the series & DI Luc Callanach has been in Edinburgh for 8 months now. It’s festival season & the downtown is hot, loud & heaving with music fans. In the midst of the crowd, a young man quietly sinks to the ground. Before long, Luc & his crew are on scene trying to figure out how a man was killed without anyone noticing.

 

Meanwhile, DI Ava Turner is called to a very different murder. There’s nothing subtle about this one. Only the question of who would want to kill a hospice nurse.

 

And that’s just the beginning of a spree that soon has Edinburgh’s panicked residents locking their doors. These aren’t your “typical” victims of crime & Luc & Ava are soon reeling from an abundance of bodies but few clues. To make matters worse, someone is leaking confidential info to the press. Adding to the fun is the presence of a cyber crime task force that is taking space & staff from the murder squad. It’s led by DCI Joseph Edgar (aforementioned DOTY award nominee), an ambitious cop intent on rekindling his history with Ava.

 

With Ava distracted by personal issues, Luc has no choice but to go outside the department for help & winds up with a couple of unlikely partners who add an interesting edge to the story.

 

What a great read. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I read “Perfect Remains”. Luc & Ava are complex, compelling characters & the fact it’s set in one of my favourite cities is a bonus. Much of the colourful peripheral cast is back, adding smart & humorous dialogue to the suspense. It’s a true head scratcher as the big picture slowly begins to take shape. The author provides several credible paths to follow & you’ll have to decide which trails lead to the killer & which are clever misdirection.

 

At the 3/4 mark, my condolences to anyone who tries to come between you & your copy. The pace ramps up as investigations reach a critical point with some of the answers falling into place. Others are reserved for the final pages as Luc & Ava deal with sudden changes to their personal & professional lives. An unexpected twist throws a spanner in the overall story line & guarantees I’ll be watching for book #3.

 

This works as a stand alone but I’d recommend reading the first one so you fully understand references made to the characters’ pasts. It’s the perfect “make-the-world-go-away” book, ideal if you’re stuck for several hours in a plane/train/automobile at some point this summer. Who knows, by the time you look up all bleary-eyed, you might be in another country. Bon voyage.