Kitson, Bill - 'Depth of Despair'
In DEPTH OF DESPAIR, Bill Kitson's first novel, we are introduced to Detective Inspector Mike Nash, DS Clara Mironova and DC Viv Pearce who are based in the fictional town of Helmsdale in North Yorkshire. Mike having returned to Yorkshire following a period of service in the Metropolitan Police.
The story begins when an angler fishing in the remote Lamentation Tarn reels in the skull of what turns out to be a young girl. When the tarn is searched by divers, more young girls' bodies are recovered and it seems that all of them were subject to extensive sexual abuse.
Elsewhere a young girl taken from Moldavia is planning to escape from her captors who had been abusing her. In Moscow, Commander Zena Dacic is raiding brothels and burning them to the ground in a major crackdown on prostitution.
When a very special handmade Russian bear is found at the bothy near Lamenation Tarn and a young girl who can't speak English is found in a shop, all the strands of the story are joined.
Ludmilla (known as Lulu to her captors) escapes after killing three of her captors and soon Zena joins the North Yorkshire detectives. She tells them that the bear belongs to the daughter of a prominent member of the Russian government and that the head of the Russian mob is on his way to England.
When it becomes obvious that a major investigation is taking place the Major Crimes Unit is brought in (but seem to have their own agenda). When the tarn is searched further, more recent bodies are found and they have had all of their internal organs removed. Mike is busy trying to keep the investigation going but all too aware of the MCU keeping information from him. He is also distracted by his girlfriend who is in a wheelchair following a kidnapping that happened prior to this book.
As more seemingly unconnected murders occur, the main story of young girls being kidnapped, placed into prostitution and subject to abuse becomes apparent. When the investigation continues, it soon become clear that more outrageous crimes (organ harvesting and trafficking of body parts) are being carried out by men who will stop at nothing to ensure they continue their gruesome trade.
This book is fairly gruesome given the storylines but it is a complex book with many threads, that all eventually link up. The threads of the story require a more complicated thought process during reading of the book whilst you try to work through the plot. Bill Kitson has produced a good detective with Mike Nash, ably supported by Clara and Viv. Bill is a great newcomer to crime fiction - watch out for his next books CHOSEN and MINDS THAT HATE.
Paul Blackburn, Scotland