Bolton, Sharon - 'A Dark and Twisted Tide'
Lacey is a constable working for the Marine Unit in London (on the Thames), alongside Ray, who has worked in the unit for many years. She is living on a boat, in a marina close to the Isle of Dogs, and likes to swim in the Thames, dangerous though it is, taking care to swim in a wetsuit and using antiseptic rinses to ward off any nasty infections she might pick up from this illegal activity. On this particular swim, early in the morning, she finds the body of a woman close to the old King's Wharf, wrapped tightly in fabric, like a mummy. And as she does so, there is another mysterious swimmer in the Thames, secretly watching her, and noticing that 'Anya' has been found.
Lacey has decided to join the Marine Unit, after three difficult cases (in previous novels) have made her want to stop being a detective, and go back into uniform to prevent crime, rather than deal with the aftermath. But following the discovery of the body, she is swept up into the investigation. A post-mortem indicates that the dead woman is probably middle-eastern or Asian in origin, an illegal immigrant?
Interspersed stories involve Lacey's boss, Dana, desperate to have a baby with her female partner Helen, Lacey's ex-boss Mark Joesbury, who is on another undercover job, the story of a house-full of women, who seem to be prisoners, and a kindly couple living close to the river that Lacey meets: Thessa and her brother Alex. Thessa is wheelchair bound, but extremely interested in alternative medicines, growing her own plants in the greenhouse, and making her own concoctions. And Thessa seems to be very interested in Lacey's life and health, offering her concoctions to help her sleep, and to calm her anxiety. Of course, all of these stories eventually throw up their connections to the mummified woman and Lacey is once again at the centre of it all.
Lacey has had a difficult past, and still has many buried secrets, one or two of which threaten to reveal themselves by the end of this book, a sort of reckoning with who she was, and who she wants to be. She is pretty, plucky, determined and clever, though not quite clever enough to avoid getting into trouble by the end of the book. A few surprises are thrown in which carry the plot forward nicely, and the author keeps us guessing right up until the end as to whom the real culprit is. One slightly dodgy story line aside, this is the usual good stuff, with tension gradually ramping up until the final denouement. I'm already looking forward to the next instalment.
Michelle Peckham, England