When the body of the fourth missing victim of a London serial killer is found at the bottom of a ditch, the police hope that the six-year-old case can finally be closed.
But when the investigation team discover some disturbing discrepancies to the previous killings, it seems that someone might have got away with murder.
Caz Frear burst on to the crime-writing scene three years ago when her blistering debut, Sweet Little Lies – starring DC Cat Kinsella, a charismatic young detective harbouring a dangerous criminal secret – won Richard and Judy’s Search for a Bestseller competition.
Since then, both the fictional cop and her creator have been on a roll with the second book in the series, Stone Cold Heart, proving that Frear is the real deal when it comes to blending authentic characters and impressive police procedural with edge-of-the-seat suspense and riveting plots.
And now this talented writer is back with her young up-and-coming sleuth for another gripping murder mystery filled with secrets, lies and some jaw-dropping twists and turns in a superbly constructed case that thrills and confounds right through to the final showdown.
Growing up in a London family with ties to organised crime, DC Cat Kinsella knows the criminal world better than most police officers do. Joining the Met Police was her way of rejecting her Irish father’s past errors but her new life isn’t always easy, and Cat has come close to crossing the line… a fact she keeps well hidden from her colleagues and her boyfriend Aiden Doyle.
In the long, hot summer of 2018, Cat and her father figure police partner, DS Luigi Parnell, are called to Cambridgeshire where the skeletal body of a woman has been found deep in a ditch at the edge of a field.
Six years ago, serial killer Christopher Masters strangled three women in his London house and although the police eventually caught him, his final victim, Holly Kemp, was never found and he never confessed to her killing, despite the rock solid testimony of an eye-witness.
Masters was murdered by another prisoner in jail a year ago and now the discovery of Holly’s remains seems to be the definitive proof needed to close the case. But a few key items of evidence are not quite lining up.
And as Cat and Parnell dig deeper, they find discrepancies that raise troubling questions. But someone will do anything to keep past secrets hidden… and as they inch closer to the truth, they may be putting themselves in jeopardy.
Cat Kinsella is a fascinating and original lead player… a smart detective but also a passionate, tough and very human young woman who is learning to hide her vulnerability and sensitivities beneath her natural sarcasm and likeable charm.
The dark secrets buried in her family’s chequered past still cast a long shadow and she knows that she can only ever let her colleagues – and even her beloved boyfriend Aiden – see ‘the disinfected version’ of herself.
But armed with her witty one-liners and an eclectic team of police colleagues watching her back, Cat tackles this intriguing new case with the same sense of duty and sharp observation that we have come to expect as the plot thickens and her personal life veers towards an important crossroads.
Tense, twisting and terrific, Shed No Tears can easily be read as a standalone but is undoubtedly best enjoyed in tandem with Sweet Little Lies and Stone Cold Heart.
(Zaffre, paperback, £7.99)