La Plante, Lynda - 'Blind Fury'
Attractive Polish immigrant young girls are being abducted and their raped, bruised, battered and naked bodies are being dumped at the side of the road near the London Gateway Service Station on the M1 motorway leading to Manchester. Detective Inspector Anna Travis is brought in to help on the investigation by DCI Langton. Travis and Langton, once lived together and there is consequently some friction between them, but they work well together.
The first dead girl that was found was unidentified for a very long time (weeks), even after her details were featured on Crimewatch. Very few leads were given to the telephone helpline and it was very slow work in investigating other similar murders, that occurred in the same location but they noted that a middle aged woman, Margaret Potts, who worked as a prostitute was killed there in the same manner. But why is there so much age difference between her and the other victims?
Then a convicted murderer that is known to Anna, she was on the team that arrested him, lets it be known that he has vital information that could identify the killer that she is hunting. His name is Cameron Welsh and he is held in the secure wing of Barfield Prison, near Leeds. His letter is eventually seen by DCI Langton who asks Anna to go up and interview him accompanied by Detective Sergeant Barolli. Welsh has a terrible reputation and was originally convicted six years earlier, of killing two girls. Since then he has studied and passed a degree in child psychology via the Open University but has isolated himself in prison as he was financially worth quite a few bob when he was convicted.
His cell is filled with shelves of hardback books on all the subjects he has studied together with a laptop computer and associated gadgets. When they get to interview him, they learn that he is very up to date with all the publicly known facts on the case and he wants to discuss the case in full and says he believes the older victim, Margaret Potts is a very important clue in this case and that they, the police, should check her out more thoroughly. Anna doesn't think that Welsh has provided any new information but she appreciates his insight into a difficult case and does follow up on the background of Miss Potts.
This interview with Welsh and the others that follow, lead Anna in a particular direction but she can't help but feel that Welsh just fancies her and is using these interviews as just a release for his pent up sexual frustration. The research Anna makes following her visits to Barfield lead the case in an entirely new direction which is very fruitful.
As the book focuses completely on Anna and her interaction with the rest of her team it is an intensely good, plot driven story along police procedural lines. Anna lives alone and works very long hours whilst active on a case and naturally her private life suffers so the book follows the life and loves of a hard working police detective as a contrast to the main story.
As this author was responsible for Prime Suspect and other good police procedurals, you feel that she certainly knows how to show the details of the police in action. I notice that she has a team of researchers at 'La Plante Productions' helping her, which she generously thanks at the beginning of her book.
The book starts slowly but soon builds up a momentum and certainly fell into the 'can't-put-it-down-until-I-finish-it' camp by the later stages and what a sensational finish! I never saw that coming. There were a few red herrings along the way and I certainly finished this book completely amazed. This is the first of her books that I've had the pleasure of reading and I will certainly look out for her work in future, but I note that there are over twenty previous titles of hers that I've missed that I could read whilst awaiting her next new work.
Terry Halligan, England