How far would you go to protect the ones you love? And how much further would you go to betray them? Nine out of ten murders are committed by someone the victim knows. So when Steph Ryder has her head bashed in within earshot of her family and friends, DS Allie Shenton begins her investigation close to home.
Soon the lies, backtracking, and secrets multiply as each of the suspects tries to cover up their actions on that fateful night. Before long, Allie homes in on Steph’s ambitious and powerful husband, Terry. Convinced he’s hiding something, she interviews him again and again—only to find that she is falling, despite herself, for his smooth charms.
As the trail grows hotter, along with Allie’s feelings, the web of deceit pulls tighter and more bodies begin to pile up. Allie must race against time to uncover the shocking truth before she becomes the killer’s next victim.
Stoke-on-Trent. One of the wealthiest women in town, Steph Ryder is bludgeoned to death outside a pub.
The first part of the book takes us back in time to relive Steph's last week among the living. Steph is a self-centred alcoholic, with a nasty character living an extravagant life and thinking that the world spins around her. She rampantly betrays her husband with one of his most trusted men, Phil Kennedy. Phil's son Lee, a good-for-nothing, is in a relationship with Steph's spoilt daughter Kirstie. A relationship not approved by the Ryders.
Her husband Terry is a villain who runs a number of legitimate businesses with other dodgy affairs on the side. He is a manipulative crook who can use both his charm and connections to get what he wants. The police has been on his trail for a long time but somehow he has always managed to stay one step ahead.
It is immediately evident that Steph is hated by a lot of people. This means that many people want her dead, but who does actually kill her? Early on we know who is the mind behind the murder; what we don't know is who actually delivered the final blow and we’ll have to wait till the end to find this out.
The second part of the book starts with the discovery of Steph's body and the ensuing investigation. DS Allie Shenton, the main character in this series, is called to the scene. She is a successful detective with a number of solved cases under her belt. She is however consumed by a deep sense of guilt. Cases involving brutal attacks force her to relive a painful and terrifying past experience which she can never forget.
Allie starts digging by interrogating Terry. Under his hypnotising stare and good looks, she finds herself struggling not to let him get underneath her skin; not to fall for his charm.
Allie is faced with a tangled web of deceit, lies and secrets and when more blood is spilt, she realises that in order to solve the case she'll have to risk everything she holds dear.
For a debut novel, this was very good, maybe a little dragging at times and with too many things going on at the same time. Many of the characters were hateful and the rough sex scenes may be off putting for some readers. I wasn't particularly blown away by how the murder was resolved, but the ending certainly indicates a development on Allies' tragic history. Will read the rest of the series!