Series: Karen Taylor Series
Sixteen-year-old Suzi Gray is battered to death on the Isle of Wight and a young boy goes missing, as wild December weather smashes down on the deserted beaches. Karen Taylor is working with the police on both cases, while fighting the planning officers who oppose the design for her stylish new house. She also has to choose between the two men in her life: DCI Charlie Trench and neurosurgeon Will Hawkins.
The chief suspect in Suzi's murder is Oliver Matken, a 19-year-old schizophrenic encouraged to stop taking his medication by psychologist James Balton. Balton is vilified and harassed, as if he were as guilty of murder as his patient. DCI Charlie Trench, promoted to a job with the Major Crimes squad, needs Karen’s help to get a confession from Oliver, who will admit only rearranging Suzi's body 'to protect her from the devil'. The forensic evidence against him isn't clear enough and the police can't find the murder weapon.
In the run up to Christmas emotions run high on the Island. What will Oliver do next if he's set free? What has happened to missing 13-year-old Billy Jenkins? Was Dr Balton guilty of inciting Oliver's violence? Will Karen survive professionally if she allies herself with Balton? How long can Will stay with her if she puts her career ahead of their relationship? Can she resist her attraction to Charlie Trench?
Half-way through the novel Billy's body is found with two bullets in the brain, then Will is nearly killed driving Karen's car, which has been sabotaged...
All the strands come together in a shocking denouement that sees the full tragedy of Suzi and Billy’s deaths laid bare, along with a revelation of just how much devastation can follow a single wrong step.
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