DCI Hanlon faces the toughest decision of her career as a string of political murders lead to a deadly confrontation.
A controversial, right-wing German politician is due to speak at the Oxford Union. Following a series of murders linked to a violent anarchist group, the city is on high alert. DCI Hanlon has been partnered with DI Huss to ensure the speech goes smoothly and that there will be no more killing.
Meanwhile, as Hanlon traces the person behind the murders, she soon realises that the chilling truth has a terrible price. Is Hanlon willing to meet the cost?
The final gripping case for DCI Hanlon.
This book was previously published as An Incidental Death by Alex Howard.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The final book in the DCI Hanlon series moves firmly into the realm of politics. Hanlon is on protection duty for a controversial foreign politician. Unsurprisingly this means danger for the enigmatic detective.
The settings are numerous and vividly brought to life. The characters are believable, and some the personification of evil. The story has many twists which make it addictive reading.
This is a topical urban thriller with a memorable detective team, a unique leader and provides a suitably exciting and poignant end to this series.
Extract from The Silent Victims – Alex Coombs
Melinda Huss was dying. She wasn’t in any pain, the local anaesthetic in her side had taken care of that, all she could feel as the blood trickled out from her right side was a faint tickling sensation as it flowed down her skin and a spreading warmth as it pooled underneath her body.
She was lying on her back on a massage table in the spa and treatment centre of the luxury hotel’s lodge. The room was small and clinical, its only decoration three severe black and white Robert Mapplethorpe photographs of flowers, their curled foliage like organs from a human body. They had an ethereal, fleshy, beauty all of their own.
There was a table with a laptop on it and two charts on the wall – one featuring traditional Chinese medicine meridian lines where chi was said to flow, another, brightly coloured, indeed almost the only other colour in the room, showed the main chakra positions from Indian yoga.
The other source of colour in the room was the enormous red stain that spread out across the white sheet covering Huss’s torso.
She was quite calm, tranquil almost, but she could feel herself becoming light-headed. She wondered how much blood she had actually lost. She felt another warm trickle down her body. It seemed to be leaving her body in irregular bursts. It wasn’t unpleasant. In fact, if you had to choose a way to die, bleeding out like this was not a bad way to go at all.
She lifted her head and looked down at the Velcro straps that secured her arms and legs. She had tried before to break her bonds or wriggle free. She had been unsuccessful. She wasn’t going to try again.
She could feel her will, and her strength, draining away. She thought of Enver Demirel, her fiancé. She thought of Hanlon. Her fierce, attractive face, and she thought of the long road that had led here.
To this place. To this death.
Kriminalkommissar Claudia Meyer of the Baden Württemberg Landeskriminalamt strode out of the foyer of the baroque building just off Karlplatz in the historic Alt centre of Heidelberg.
It was incredibly noisy. Horns were beeping in the narrow mediaeval streets where traffic had backed up. Sirens wailed, police were shouting commands at a vociferous crowd that had gathered.
The red sandstone castle on the hill above looked down on the small, picturesque town below. The scene that she had just witnessed in the first floor drawing room was as gruesome as any the castle had seen in its long history. There had been an eye-opening amount of blood.
There were a couple of blue and silver VW squad cars from the cop shop on Eppelheimer Strasse parked on the narrow cobbled street outside, and the front door of the large, detached town house had been sealed off. The blue uniformed police on the door watched her as she passed. She nodded at the driver of the van that she recognized as belonging to Forensics which was pulled up on the pavement.
The street where all this commotion was occurring was in one of Heidelberg’s most fashionable quarters. It was university land, but the house she had just left was startlingly expensive, even by Stuttgart standards. Prices had risen steeply in latter times. It was the kind of place that only fairly recently had become gentrified and was now increasingly being colonized by non-German investors. It lay in the heart of the city, near the exclusive Hauptstrasse. It wasn’t the kind of place you associated with violent death; more expensive shopping and a Kaffee and a slice of Sachertorte.
Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.