Oxford private investigator Zoë Boehm struggles with the aftereffects of her violent past as she hunts for a killer—or has she become the hunted?
Zoë Boehm has harbored a distinct aversion to death ever since she shot the man intent on killing her. So when Caroline Daniels takes a deadly fall in front of a train and her lover fails to turn up at the funeral, Zoë wants nothing to do with the case. But Caroline’s boss is persistent, and as Zoë attempts to unlock the secrets of a woman she’s never met while in search of a man who could be anywhere, she starts to wonder if he’s found her first. And if he has, will that make her the next victim, or prove to be her salvation from a paralyzing fear?
This tight, literary, clich -free novel, the second in British author Herron's Zo Boehm series (after Down Cemetery Road) but the first to be published in the U.S., finds the Oxford private detective investigating three mysteries: a 12-year-old purse snatcher's plunge from the roof of a seedy London high-rise and the separate murders of two middle-aged women. Boehm suspects the women's deaths are linked to their dating Alan Talmadge, a Motown-humming Bluebeard who preys on women whose age is edging them out of the singles scene. Boehm believes Talmadge pushed the two women to their deaths, into a subway track and a ditch of water, respectively. Herron's writing includes some fine images: "when she coughed, it racked through her like she was a wardrobe full of empty coathangers." The hunter becomes the hunted as Boehm seeks refuge deep in the country, with a friend who keeps ostriches, of all things. This plot is intriguing from opening to denouement. Point-of-view switches could confuse some readers, and the capture of one perpetrator is postponed for a sequel, but this doesn't dim Herron's gift for action, dialogue and, most of all, psychology and setting.