Source : Review copy
Publication: 3 November 2020 from Sphere
When Kate Marshall finds the bloated body of a young man floating in the Shadow Sands reservoir, the authorities label it a tragic accident.
But the details don’t add up: why was he there, in the middle of the night? If he was such a strong swimmer, how did he drown? As Kate and her assistant Tristan Harper follow the evidence, they make a far darker discovery . . .
This is only the latest victim in a series of bloody murders dating back decades. A mythic serial killer is said to hide in the rolling fog, abducting his victims like a phantom. And when another woman is taken, Kate and Tristan have a matter of days to save her from meeting the same fate.
I really enjoyed Nine Elms, the first in the Kate Marshall series, so I was excited to see where Robert Bryndza would take Kate Marshall. Kate was a Detective Constable until she became entangled personally and professionally in a case that almost cost her her life. Now she lectures in Criminology in Ashdean, Devon. She is assisted in her work by a very capable teaching assistant, Tristan.
Bryndza gives you enough of Kate’s backstory for you to understand that she has a traumatic past. One that caused her to leave the police force for good and which has resulted in her son being brought up by her parents, so you know that her trauma runs deep.
When the book opens, Kate and her son Jake are spending time together. They have been taking diving proficiency classes and on an outing, they go diving in the Shadow Sands reservoir. There they discover the dead body of Simon Kendall and Kate wastes no time in calling the police.
The police are quickly inclined to rule the death a suicide, but Simon’s mother knows her son would not have taken his own life and begs Kate to look into it since the police seem to have made up their minds.
Using her knowledge and contacts, it doesn’t take Kate long to ascertain that something is amiss and that the circumstances of Simon’s death were nor straightforward. Tristan has been doing some research of his own and he finds a Professor in the University who also has an interest in the Shadow Sands area and who is able to tell him about other strange goings on in the surroundings of the reservoir.
Bryndza’s ability to make his central characters incredibly empathetic and likeable immediately make you warm to both Kate and Tristan and it is good to begin to find out more about the latter who becomes much more of a fleshed out character in this book. His facility to draw the reader quickly into a story and to invest them with a stake in the outcome is indicative of a writer who really understands his audience.
Bryndza weaves a complex and thrilling plot, giving us characters who we can care about and some who are all too easy to dislike and who provide excellent suspect fodder. In this multi-layered investigation, everyone is a suspect and you are left wondering what’s been going on at the reservoir and quite why so many people disappear from its environs.
Bryndza reels you in from the very beginning, his tense and exciting plot leading you to suspect everyone and trust no-one, not even the police. The narrative drive is forceful, turning this into a powerful and almost one sit read, as you need to know not only who is responsible, but just as importantly, why.
I love the suspense in this fast-paced story and hearing from both the victim and the killer in their own words produces a visceral reaction that makes the hairs on your neck stand up and a cold shiver run down your spine.
With characters you love to hate and the return of a nemesis for Kate, there’s plenty to keep the reader on the edge of the seat in this action packed suspenseful thriller.
Verdict: With very personal moments for both Kate and Tristan sweetening and deepening a skilled mix of suspense and tension, Bryndza has pulled together the perfect ingredients for the second Kate Marshall novel. Roll on Book Three!
Robert Bryndza is the author of the international #1 bestselling Detective Erika Foster series and the Kate Marshall series. Robert’s books have sold over 4 million copies and have been translated into 29 languages. He is British and lives in Slovakia.