Salt Lane

Mulholland: Little, Brown. Jun. 2018. 464p. ISBN 9780316563505. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780316563468. M
DS Alexandra Cupidi (introduced in The Birdwatcher) is complex, conflicted, and conscientious. After conducting an investigation that proved a colleague guilty of murder and then having an affair with a married coworker, she transfers from London's Metropolitan Police to coastal Kent. She and daughter Zoë settle on the Dungeness headland, known for its austere, natural beauty. Soon Alex is embroiled in another case. A woman appears on the doorstep of her biological son, Julian, whom she gave up for adoption when he was a toddler. Although she's obviously homeless and displaying signs of previous heroin addiction, Julian welcomes the stranger into his home and invites her to stay overnight. The following morning, the woman has disappeared. However, on that same night, supposedly the same woman is found dead in a drainage ditch on the Dungeness headland. Other bodies are found, including a badly beaten man who was abandoned in a farm's manure pit. Searching for the true identities of the deceased leads Alex and her team to the peace movements of the 1980s, a web of migrant workers, and unbridled greed.
VERDICT Shaw's rattling good writing will hold readers to the very end. Fans of the author's "Breen and Tozer" series as well as aficionados of atmospheric British procedurals will enjoy this series launch.

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