The internationally bestselling author of Nine Elms and The Girl in the Ice is back with a nail-biting new Kate Marshall case, a woman with a dark secret and a powerful sense of justice.
When Kate Marshall finds the bloated body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.
But the details don’t add up: why was the victim there, in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown?
Kate is certain there is more to this case than meets the eye. As she and her research assistant Tristan Harper dig deeper, they discover a bloody trail that points towards an active serial killer hiding in plain sight. People have been silently disappearing for years, and when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.
This is my first book by Robert Bryndza and I loved his writing style. I already have a copy of Nine Elms waiting for me in my local bookshop. While I really don’t mind spoilers, I have to admire the author’s skill in giving just enough background information to get me hooked on the series and not revealing any crucial details about Kate Marshall’s previous case.
Shadow Sands starts with a bang. A young man is swimming for his life, trying to get away from a killer boat. The story picks up two days later and Kate and her teenage son Jake find a dead body deep down in a man-made water reservoir called Shadow Sands. Understandably, Jake is shocked, while Kate has to give details of their gruesome discovery to the local DCI Henry Ko. Although I didn’t know her background, which was revealed later, I was struck by how professional she sounded. Kate Marshall, a university lecturer and a former police officer, may be struggling with her own demons, not least of which are hoding to her sobriety and dealing with her guilt over not being there for Jack during his childhood, but she is a tenacious investigator. Although the young man’s death is pronounced to have been an accidental drowning, Kate is suspicious of the haste with which the case was closed. There are other things that don’t add up such as Simon being a very strong, Olympic level swimmer.
Meanwhile , Kate’s assistant Tristan is asked out on a cinema date by a beautiful visiting university lecturer, Magdalena Rossi. Magdalena’s research focuses on strange disappearances around the area of Shadow Sands. Magdalena herself never makes it to her date with Tristan. Her yellow scooter is found next to a water drain. She might have been dragged by a flash flood and ended up falling into the sea…But what if she is alive and has been abducted? Can Kate and Tristan solve the puzzle of Simon’s case and find Magdalena before it is too late?
There were many things I liked about this novel. The plot is tight, and while there are a lot of characters (something that usually confuses me), they all serve to show how deep the roots of the evil described in the book were. There are several twists, and it isn’t easy to work out the identity of the killer. Magdalena’s storyline was full of vivid details and kept me on the edge of my seat. As if there was any doubt that this book neatly falls into the thriller category!
At first, I was a bit unsure about Kate Marshall’s life story- there are so many books with detectives or private investigators battling addictions. Well, although it would be nice to meet a well-adjusted, successful, happily married detective for once, and Kate can’t be called any of these, she is a well-developed, strong character, and I would like to read more books featuring her. Tristan is also extremely likeable and it was great to get to know his family background and get a glimpse of his private life.
The pace was excellent with a great sequence of dramatic scenes and quieter investigative work that is the foundation of any successful police procedural. Roberta Bryndza’s writing style draws you in straightaway and makes you read compulsively until you reach the end.
I’ll be looking forward to reading the first book and all subsequent ones as well. Recommended to all lovers of police procedurals who enjoy gripping plots and great detective work.
Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas&Mercer for the review copy. all opinions ar my own and were not influenced in any way.