"Brings a creepy new note to Spencer’s long-running series" Kirkus Reviews
The discovery of a body on a local allotment site re-opens an unresolved cold case for Monika Paniatowski and her team.
He was going to have to terminate Monika, he decided. It was a pity, but there it was.
The body has lain buried for years, and has no face and no fingertips. Monika Paniatowski’s team have no real leads, but when they discuss the case at her hospital bedside – where she lies paralysed – Monika begins to see possible links with a case she closed four years earlier.
Are the two cases connected? Did the first murder make the second almost inevitable? She doesn’t know, but she does know that she is being watched by an old enemy who will kill her if he decides there is ever any chance of her sharing her thoughts and information with her team.
Spencer's improbable 13th police procedural set in 1970s Lancashire finds Det. Chief Insp. Monika Paniatowski still in the coma that she entered in 2017's The Hidden. Her devoted colleagues womanizer Colin Beresford, pugnacious Kate Meadows, and Oxford grad Jack Crane continue to visit her hospital room and discuss the cases they're working on, in particular the discovery of a decomposing male body, whose face has been obliterated and whose fingertips have been removed. Beresford and the others don't know whether she's even aware of their presence, but Monika does understand what they're saying and believes a link may exist between the current victim and a murder case she worked on four years earlier. As the plot spins out into ever more unlikely circles, touching on rogue spies, greedy politicians, and dastardly gentlemen who attended posh public schools, Monika, who's trapped within her unresponsive body, begins to realize she may be marked for murder. As usual, the dynamics of the police team are fun to watch. Hopefully, Spencer will ground Monica's next outing in more realistic crimes.