A motorway service station on the M1: dimly lit, run down, poorly supervised, flickering lights, dark corners; a favourite stopover for long-distance lorry drivers on their way up north from London. Behind it, a body is found in a ditch, that of a girl barely out of her teens. She appears to have no family, no friends, no connections anywhere. Other girls have gone missing in the vicinity and no one has stepped forward to claim them.
Anna Travis is assigned to the case. Her blood runs cold when she receives a letter from a lifer -- someone she was responsible for arresting in the past -- who writes to her from prison, asking her to visit him urgently. For he claims he knows who the killer is…
When an unidentified woman is discovered raped and murdered at a service station off the M1 motorway in La Plante's gripping sixth novel featuring London Det. Insp. Anna Travis (after Silent Scream), Anna and her team fear it's the work of the same person who murdered both another unidentified woman and prostitute Margaret Potts. Anna has little to go on until Cameron Welsh, a sadistic killer Anna helped convict years earlier, contacts her from prison and promises he can help solve the case. She reluctantly agrees to meet despite Welsh's interest in the case being a thinly veiled attempt to get close to her while pursuing any lead to try and identify the nameless victims. Hovering in the background is Anna's former lover, Det. Chief Supt. James Langton, who arrives to supervise the case, which grows increasingly complex as it builds to its violent climax. Now a more agile investigator, Anna has finally stepped clear of Langton's and Jane Tennison's shadow.
Interesting but not a page-turner
The story started out quite slow and I was considering giving up on it. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and kept going. I found it quite interesting up until the very end which disappointed me a fair bit. The ending was somewhat unexpected and I'm left feeling no sense of closure. Not badly written and a good read nonetheless. Would I recommend it? If the last chapter or so was taken out, yes. Unless you're the type who likes to walk away from stories feeling empty and questioning what's next, then go right ahead! This is probably the book for you :)
The writing was sparse and the characters were not well developed. The plot was predictable from the beginning. The prison scenarios were unlikely and a fairly obscure adjunct to the plot.