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Sunday, November 13, 2016


5 stars out of 5

Oh my. Good thing I'm a fast reader. From the moment I booted up my Kindle Fire and opened this book, I didn't want to put it down. As it was, it took two days - although that's not bad considering all the other "stuff" I had to do in between. I'll give a special shout-out to my ever-lovin' hubby, who didn't blink an eye when I told him dinner would be a little later than usual tonight because I was too close to the end to stop).

Still another thank you goes to the author and publisher, via NetGalley, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. To that end, will "Wow!" suffice?

For everyone else, a bit of a plot description is in order. This is the third in the series featuring Detective Erika Foster (preceded by The Girl in the Ice and Night Stalker.  Here, she's serving at the Bromley Police Station in London, where she was transferred three months earlier. She didn't arrive without baggage; her police career is dotted with successes and failures, with one of the latter involving the death of her beloved husband, for which she's blamed herself ever since. She's an immigrant from Slovakia, and she's had to fight her own feelings of inadequacy that have been augmented along the way by some of her police colleagues.

Already, though, she's bored with her assignment that's limited to investigating organized crime cases. But as luck would have it, when she orders a search of an old quarry after getting a tip that a big stash of narcotics is at the bottom, something else turns up: The remains of a young girl. Almost immediately, the child is identified as Jessica Collins, who as a seven-year-old disappeared from her home 26 years ago. The case made big-time headlines back then, but no perpetrator was ever found.

It's an uphill battle to get assigned to the cold case, but Erika is determined to get it and keeps dogging her superiors until they cave in - albeit with orders to get it wrapped up as quickly as possible or else.  Erika manages to get the go-ahead to beef up her staff and turns to a couple of former co-workers to help (readers of those first two books will recognize them). But at the git-go, the case looks hopeless; the primary suspect who was cleared of the abduction all those years ago sued the city and won, making it nearly impossible for the officers to approach him again. The missing child's parents have split up, leaving the family in shambles. The original case detective, Amanda Baker, became a pariah, left the force and turned into an alcoholic hermit. And, when another suspect is identified, it turns out he died many years ago and is, obviously, unavailable for comment. As if that weren't enough, roadblocks keep popping up to impede the investigation that may be coming from a source closer to home.

Getting to the truth turns out to be a series of wrong and right turns, stops and starts - and a couple of big surprises. Only two things, in fact, could I count on, the first of which is that the next chapter would be even better than the one I was reading. The second? Any time two or more characters got together, one of them was sure to ask, "Would you like some tea?" Gotta love those Brits!

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza (Bookouture, October 2016); 368 pp.

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