Peace, David - '1980'
It's 1980 in the North of England and the Yorkshire Ripper has just claimed his latest victim. Everywhere women are frightened to be out alone at night.
ACC Peter Hunter is drafted in from Manchester to review the investigation with an under-brief that he is to look for incompetence and corruption in Yorkshire's police force. There's history there between Hunter and the Yorkshire police and none of them want to cooperate. The corruption that pervaded the previous books (1974 and 1977) has festered and flourished until it undermines everything that Hunter tries to do. Meanwhile the hunt for the Ripper continues and more girls are murdered in the alleys, waste-grounds and parks of Leeds and Bradford.
Interspersed with Hunter's narration is a stream of consciousness that runs through the history of the investigation, though it's not clear at the outset just whose mind this is spilling from. It's chilling stuff and difficult to read in places, as are parts of the rest of the book. This is no light, bed-time read and some of the images will stay in your mind long after you've stopped reading. But the writing is superb and I really couldn't put it down.
This is the third book in the series and their strength increases with each volume. Each book reveals a little more and fills in the gaps left by previous books so the whole picture slowly fits together as the strands are carefully and skilfully woven together.
Three books down, one to go. I can't wait to see how it all gets resolved.
Pat Austin, England