In 1989 a murderer dumped the body of a twenty-year-old called Lucie Martin into a lake in the West of France. Fourteen years later, during a drought, the body was revealed. Enzo, who is involved in a string of cold case investigations, arrives to look into this murder. It was never solved, but because the killing appeared to make use of the same modus operandi as three others committed by a pimp and drug dealer, Régis Blanc, who was imprisoned for those murders. He seemed to be the killer, although he denied any involvement, and the case was assumed to be complete even though no evidence could be found to incriminate Blanc directly - he had an alibi.
Now, here is my problem: I haven’t read any of Peter’s other books, so with this, which is the seventh in the Enzo MacLeod series, I was confused as to why Enzo was involved, what his background was, and who the other players were. However, Peter is a masterful writer. I found very quickly that he had me settled down and comfortable with the main themes.
Enzo MacLeod is a cold case investigator because he has had a successful career as a forensic investigator and has taught the science in a French university. He is lucky enough to be able to attract young women, and unfortunate enough to find that many of his idols possess clay feet. His first wife is back in Scotland; another sadly died; a third is father of his son, but appears to have a poor relationship with Enzo. Well, this is a detective book. You don’t expect happy investigators, do you? And at least he still drinks happily enough.
Joking aside, this was a seriously competent crime novel, with more twists and turns than the average anaconda. Peter May’s writing is … well, I’ll admit to a certain professional jealousy here. He writes with a precision and clarity that is all too rare nowadays. It is fluid, brilliant and entrancing. There’s an almost poetic quality to his sentences which I found just brilliant.
So, in short, would I recommend this book? Yes, and more, I am going to get a hold of his previous titles in the series too. It is clear that this book does not deserve to be read on its own. As an individual piece of work, it is very good. However, it leaves me feeling that I had read one of the later Harry Potter books without knowing the story of the main characters before. There is much that I look forward to learning of Enzo’s background.
I would rate this as a highly recommended novel.