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You should have been a detective. If there's one thing the last year has proved, it's how good you are at finding things out. Not simple things. Hard things. Things that nobody is supposed to be able to find out. Things that are buried so deep nobody even thinks twice about them. The sort of things that turn people's lives inside out once they're exposed.'
Meet Tony Hill's most twisted adversary - a killer with a shopping list of victims, a killer unmoved by youth and innocence, a killer driven by the most perverted of desires. The murder and mutilation of teenager Jennifer Maidment is horrific enough on its own. But it's not long before Tony realises it's just the start of a brutal and ruthless campaign that's targeting an apparently unconnected group of young people. Struggling with the newly-awakened ghosts of his own past and desperate for distraction in his work, Tony battles to find the answers that will give him personal and professional satisfaction in his most testing investigation yet.
A new chief constable, James Blake, arrives at Bradfield CID in McDermid's excellent sixth Tony Hill novel (after Beneath the Bleeding). Since Blake takes a skeptical view of both Tony's contributions as a medical consultant and the team's commitment to cold cases, Det. Chief Insp. Carol Jordan has to tread carefully. Soon deemed too expensive by Blake, Tony turns to nearby Worcester for work, where a grisly case involves the brutal murder and sexual mutilation of teenagers lured to their deaths by a killer who befriends them on a social networking Web site. Connections soon arise between Tony's case and Carol's new murder inquiry in Bradfield, which McDermid develops with her usual systematic ease until all the pieces of the disturbing puzzle fall into place. The increasingly complex and indefinable relationship between Tony and Carol provides a strong emotional undercurrent. McDermid demonstrates once again that she's as adept with matters of the heart as she is with murder.