An "excellent," darkly-told crime novel in the tradition of Tana French and Ian Rankin (Wall Street Journal).
Sergeant Alexandra Cupidi is a recent transfer from the London metro police to the rugged Kentish countryside. She's done little to ingratiate herself with her new colleagues, who find her too brash, urban, and -- to make matters worse -- she investigated her first partner, a veteran detective, and had him arrested on murder charges.
Now assigned the brash young Constable Jill Ferriter to look after, she's facing another bizarre case: a woman found floating in local marsh land, dead of no apparent cause. The case gets even stranger when the detectives contact the victim's next of kin, her son, a high-powered graphic designer living in London. Adopted at the age of two, he'd never known his mother, he tells the detectives, until a homeless womanknocked on his door, claiming to be his mother, just the night before: at the same time her body was being dredged from the water.
Juggling the case, her aging mother, her teenage daughter, and the loneliness of country life, Detective Cupidi must discover who the woman really was, who killed her, and how she managed to reconnect with her long lost son, apparently from beyond the grave.
Introduced in 2017's The Birdwatcher, Det. Sgt. Alexandra Cupidi takes the lead in Shaw's excellent police procedural set in the coastal marshlands of Kent. Cupidi gets called out to a remote drainage ditch, where an unidentified woman was found dead of unknown causes. Nearly naked and with no identifying marks, the woman appears to have been in the water for about 10 days. Cupidi and Constable Jill Ferriter have very little to go on, even when they do get a name to put to their corpse. The stakes rise with the subsequent discovery of another body, this time in a farm's covered manure pit. As Cupidi and Ferriter dig further into the deaths, they discover links to the 1980s peace protests on Greenham Common and the current opioid addiction crisis. Shaw does a fine job depicting Cupidi's relationships with her teenage daughter and her mother as well as her partnership with Ferriter, with whom she becomes increasingly at ease. The combination of great characters and a gripping plot will leave readers eager for a sequel.