La Plante, Lynda - 'Blood Line'
Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Anna Travis is busy ensuring a case is ready for court under the watchful eye of Detective Chief Superintendent James Langton. She does not need the distraction of an approach by an Old Bailey court usher Edward Rawlins. His son is missing and has been for two weeks now. Rawlins's wife has Alzheimer's and misses her son Alan spending time with her. Anna passes the details onto the Missing Persons department and gets on with her current task.
Three weeks later Anna sees Edward Rawlins again and still there is no news of Alan. Encouraged by Langton who feels sorry for the polite and dapper Rawlins, Anna reluctantly gets involved. She and Detective Sergeant Paul Simms interview the girlfriend that Alan lived with - Tina Brooks. She runs a busy hairdressers, whilst Alan works as a mechanic. She admits that she thought Alan had left her for another woman and isn't too concerned. The investigation is slow and frustrating but they eventually come up with some surprising discoveries including a blood pool in the bedroom. The facts that they can't identify who the blood belongs to nor find a dead body puts pressure on Anna and her team. Langton is always interfering as he believes she isn't concentrating on the main problems. Anna only has a short time to make a breakthrough until she is replaced on the case, she is feeling low and very stressed, and so can she crack the case?
The novel starts slowly and it seems to be trying to convey the everyday police frustrations of one step forward and one step back! However you know there are more surprises from this excellent author. Does the blood belong to the missing man, described by everyone who knew him to be non confrontational, hard working and mild? Or does it belong to someone else? Tina denies all knowledge and believes it to be spilt red wine. The twists and turns start to mount as this turns into yet another first rate thriller from the very impressive Ms La Plante. I ignored the cardinal rule of reading series in sequence; I hadn't yet read the previous book BLIND FURY and unfortunately there is a key event in the previous book which impacts on this one. I will still read the other but obviously it won't have the same impact. Lynda La Plante is one of my favourite authors so BLOOD LINE is very much recommended.
Geoff Jones, England