In the midst of a rock festival, a charity worker is sliced across the stomach. He dies minutes later. In a crowd of thousands, no one saw his attacker. The following week, the body of a primary school teacher is found in a dumpster in an Edinburgh alley, strangled with her own woollen scarf.
DI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach have no motive and no leads – until around the city, graffitied on buildings, words appear describing each victim.
It’s only when they realise the words are appearing before rather than after the murders, that they understand the killer is announcing his next victim…and the more innocent the better.
When I read Perfect Remains last year, after seeing Helen on a panel at Aye Write, I knew I was going to have to read the second in the Luc Callanach series.
And it certainly does not disappoint! Not only has Ms Fields managed to come up with some pretty spectacular and gorily twisted deaths, she has also managed to create the boyfriend from hell. I mean really – who is ever going to pick smarmy self satisfied Joe Edgar over dark, brooding, tortured, lovely D.I. Luc Callanach? As if!
More of that later. Perfect Prey begins in Edinburgh where, during a Festival, a young charity worker, Sim Thorburn, is viciously killed by a silent and stealthy killer. Luc Callanach catches the case. Shortly afterwards a Helen Lott is found dead in her home, every bone in her body crushed, just as if something heavy had jumped up and down on her. D.I. Ava Turner is assigned to Helen’s death.
When more bodies begin to turn up, each murdered in a more grotesque way than the last, the police are struggling to find a motive for these horrible killings.
It is not until Lance Proudfoot, a local journalist, is able to point Luc in the direction of some interesting graffiti that he begins to discern a possible pattern linking these deaths.
To make matters worse, Superintendent Overbeck is very clear that she is destined to climb the career ladder and thus she intends to make sure that nothing sticks to her. A major task force on cyber crime is in the area tracking down a substantial lead and she takes away Luc’s most capapble D.S. to work with them, while simultaneously piling on the pressure to get the cases solved and to ensure that the press are kept onside.
For Ava Turner, these murders come just as her mother is very seriously ill and she is struggling with a very mixed set of emotions. Into this maelstrom, arrives an old flame, the aforementioned smug git, D.I. Joe Edgar, heading up the cyber crime unit. He reports directly into No. 10 and in his view, that means that nothing should stand in the way of his operation, not even the capture of a deadly killer.
As Ava and Joe look to be serious about re-kindling their relationship, and Ava is ever more distracted by her mother’s illness, Luc finds himself more alone than ever – will he succumb to the charms of his new next door neighbour?
There’s no doubt that Helen Fields’ books are not for the faint of heart, she does do a mean and twisted serial killer with all the graphic gore that such killers provide. She tells a great story with bags of pace, great characterisation and masses of tension that ramps up throughout the book.
Luc Callanach has rapidly become rather a favourite with me and I will unquestionably be looking out for the next book in the series, Perfect Death.
Perfect Prey is published by Avon on 27th July 2017
About Helen Fields
Helen Fields’ first love was drama and music. From a very young age she spent all her free time acting and singing until law captured her attention as a career path. She studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London.
After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. Undertaking cases that ranged from Children Act proceedings and domestic violence injunctions, to large scale drug importation and murder, Helen spent years working with the police, CPS, Social Services, expert witnesses and in Courts Martials.
After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar. Together with her husband David, she went on to run Wailing Banshee Ltd, a film production company, acting as script writer and producer.
Helen self-published two fantasy books as a way of testing herself and her writing abilities. She enjoyed the creative process so much that she began writing in a much more disciplined way, and decided to move into the traditional publishing arena through an agent.
Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Edinburgh and San Francisco are her two favourite cities, and she travels whenever she can.
Beyond writing, she has a passion for theatre and cinema, often boring friends and family with lengthy reviews and critiques. Taking her cue from her children, she has recently taken up karate and indoor sky diving. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.
♥ Helen will be appearing on the Four Broads in search of a Killer panel at Bloody Scotland on Saturday 9th September 2017 – for more information go here.