Victim, suspect, policeman. When the lines blur, who do you trust?
When two bodies surface in the garden of a rented house in North London, Forensics discover fingerprints which link back to an unsolved crime that no one in the Metropolitan Police wants to remember.
More than a decade ago, in an isolated holiday cottage in Sussex, a family was found brutally slaughtered. The prime suspect was Callum Carmichael, the father of the family and a police officer from the Met’s own ranks. But without enough evidence to arrest him, the case was hushed up and the trail left to go cold.
Now, with fresh proof that the killer is still out there, rookie DC Ebony Willis is sent to find Callum Carmichael. But Carmichael is an unknown entity and, with every piece of information she tells him, she risks leading a dangerous man closer to his prey.
Dead of Winter is one of those books that simply works. It entertains from beginning to end with a good narrative, fast pace and a multi layered storyline that somehow all comes together at the end complete with a few surprises that I certainly didn’t expect.
The storyline is complex in parts and I did get a little lost somewhere in the middle but after concentrating a little harder I found my way back in and was thoroughly entertained and rewarded with a powerful and moving conclusion.
For me the highlight of the book is the initial setting of Callum Carmichael’s desolate farm/cottage. Stuck in the middle of the English countryside, the ground subject to snow and ice, it was the perfect setting for a man recovering from the loss of his family 13 years previously.
I was blown away by the atmospheric narrative and I wanted to move in to the cottage, sit by the log fire and just read! Callum’s is a simple existence but the author makes it feel so much more. Up to his neck fighting foxes and delivering lambs Callum is an aloof character who keeps himself to himself and even though he ends up doing a few things he shouldn’t do you find yourself championing his cause. By rights Callum isn’t that likeable but there’s something compelling about him that makes you take a different view of this leading character, he’s by no means your typical leading man but with a gritty and determined persona he simply works.
Callum can’t do it all on his own and he calls on fellow protagonist DC Ebony Willis who certainly holds her own despite being a rookie in the murder squad. The pair have more than their fair share of problems and as the book progresses we discover the baggage the two carry and the dark days the pair have endured.
Some of the crimes and events are pretty shocking and leave very little to the imagination but as the author ties everything together in the end I was completely blown away by the ending.
Dead of Winter is a good police procedural and although there were a couple of points I wasn’t keen on this is a thoroughly entertaining book that delivers on many levels. It will make you think and it will definitely challenge, and with a complex narrative that is both shocking and informative the book is unputdownable. You just want to know what happens in the end and once you’ve reached the final pages you will be rewarded with a truly fitting ending.
Paperback: 448 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (6 Dec 2012)