The Last Commandment

Mysterious: Grove Atlantic. Jul. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781613162286. $25.95. M
DEBUT Just before he’s set to retire from Scotland Yard, Austin Grant has three murders to investigate in one week. Austin keeps one clue quiet: mysterious numbers have been carved on the victims’ foreheads. His brother, an Oxford professor, suggests that the numbers could be from the Ten Commandments, so Austin sends a warning to priests and London’s churches shut down. Then Scotland Yard gets a call from NYPD detective John Frankel about a new victim, in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Austin flies to New York, hoping to reunite with his journalist daughter Rachel, from whom he’s been estranged since his wife’s death a year earlier. Austin, John, and Rachel team up to investigate, but they can’t prevent a fifth murder. When they suspect an infamous old case of Austin’s might lead to the next death, they all return to London in time for Christmas, but not in time to prevent the case from taking a terrible personal turn. The intensifying, suspenseful investigation ends in a shocking, made-for-TV reveal.
VERDICT Shepherd’s first novel reflects his years as a TV writer (The Equalizer; Miami Vice.) The fast-paced story and twisted villain will appeal to fans of crime dramas.
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