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Ragged Alice

Tor. Apr. 2019. 208p. ISBN 9781250220189. pap. $14.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250220172. HORROR
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A hit-and-run homicide brings DCI Holly Craig back to Pontyrhudd, the Welsh hometown she left 15 years ago. Orphaned at an early age, Holly was raised by her grandfather, who's since died. Having fled small-town life for London, Holly returns to Wales on a transfer she initiated after blaming herself for a standoff at a school that left seven dead. The straightforward case gets complicated when the primary suspect is discovered dead and mutilated—and is the first in a series of murders. Holly is shocked when the local paper reports that her mother was killed the same way 30 years ago, which is where the story hits its first hiccup. Readers learn that Holly joined the police force because of her mother's death but never looked into the circumstances. In a pivotal flashback, a younger Holly is even taunted by the story of "Ragged Alice." Marring this work is a pervasive inattention to detail. Somehow the town mayor has been mayor for as long as anyone can remember even though he's only 54. Her grandfather's house, abandoned at least a year since his death, has a copy of yesterday's newspaper on the table. The mounting pile of mutilated corpses serves only to winnow the pool of suspects and the paranormal aspect of the story fails to elevate this muddled mystery.
VERDICT Too many plot holes and inconsistencies. Not recommended.

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