We begin in 2010 as Samantha Boyd walks in London’s Old Baily where she is one of the jurors to one of the most high profile cases; a man is on trial for the murder of multiple girls who he sets fire to after their death. What was seen as an open and shut case quickly unfolds in front of the jury as one filled with planted evidence and a questionable detective. When a not guilty verdict is found the detective attacks the defendant almost killing him.
Flash forward to 2014 and detective Wolf is back on the police force and called to crime scene across the street from his apartment. A gruesome image confronts himand the team. A “person” is held dangling from wire from the ceiling, the “person” is made up of different limbs of people stitched together, a Ragdoll. From the point on the chase is on to discover exactly who these people, how do they link together and why was this Ragdoll is pointing towards Wolf’s apartment.
The novel is fast paced with multiple characters being introduced quickly with their backgrounds being established just as fast. The complexity between Wolf’s relationship with his fellow detective, Baxter, has clearly been thought out and their “relationship” is established not only through expository detail and speech but, also, Cole clearly shows us this through their actions. That is a huge positive for this book. Most crime books simply tell us what is happening but Cole shows us everything we need to know and more.
The rest of the team interact well with one another even with the arrival of an inexperienced detective from the fraud department. Most crime books glamorise the police life slightly and fail to show the implications of their work life on their home and social life. This book gives us brief glimpses into each of their life’s and how, due to their work, it is difficult to have a life outside of the job. The new detective, Edmunds, is possibly the closest we get to an outside view of the job having worked in fraud before this. The way his life spirals as the case progresses shows the reader a condensed and smaller image of how the job can affect someone in a short space of time.
Even if I had not read the authors note at the beginning I would have likened it to the show 24. The fast paced action, conspiracy between colleagues coupled with a recklessness that sets the tone of this novel (and possible future novels) very well. One of my favourite aspects was the involvement of the media and showing how they view cases and the lengths a journalist will go to to “get the story.” The fact that the journalist in question is Wolfs ex-wife only complicates matters slightly (ok a lot) but it still adds a fresh new angle to the murder investigation.
To conclude this is a brilliant read. I was unsure about the ending but that is my only issue. The concept behind the murders was original and the fact that it was set in the UK added to my love for it. If you are able to buy this book, you will not be disappointed.