River of Darkness

Set in England at the end of the first world war, this layered mystery does not disappoint. Inspector Madden and Billy Styles are sent to investigate the massacre of a family in their home. Everyone is dead except for a little girl who escaped and hid and is now too traumatized to speak. She can only draw pictures of what looks like a balloon with eyes.

Madden, back in the police department since his military discharge, is carrying his own demons - memoirs of the horrors he witnessed during the war, plus the deaths of his own wife and young child before he enlisted. His interactions with the town's doctor seem to involve more than her care and concern for the traumatized girl. Billy Styles is new to the CID and surprised he's been assigned to the case. He is watching and learning. He's also a better police investigator than he thinks he is.

The story drips out the background of the main characters - layering information and keeping the story line tight. The murderer is identified before the story's end, but the suspense level remains high. Why does he keep doing this and what is he planning next?

Well written, this book is one of a series that I recommend.

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