Tony Hill and Carol Jordan finally defeated their nemesis, Jacko Vance, but not before they paid a staggering price: the murder of Carol’s brother and his partner. Cross and Burn begins with an ending: Carol’s elite MIT squad has been disbanded, its members reassigned. Carol herself has quit the force and has seemingly vanished. Tony is back to clinical practice. Paula McIntyre is now the second to DCI Alex Fielding (yes, from the TV incarnation of Wire in the Blood), and on her very first day she finds herself pulled in two directions: officially she’s investigating a series of murders, and unofficially she’s trying to locate her partner’s colleague, who has gone missing and whose teenage son insists she’s met with foul play.
This is a novel about relationships. Carol’s absence has left a gaping hole in Tony’s and Paula’s lives, both personally and professionally. Tony struggles to adjust to life without Carol and to his overwhelming guilt over her brother’s murder, while trying to maintain his friendship with her former colleagues. But it is Paula who forms the heart of this novel as she attempts to balance her new working relationships with her reliance on Tony Hill and Stacey Chen, as well as her relationships at home. Paula has always been a talented investigator, but as she investigates the murders of several women—who, disturbingly, resemble Carol Jordan—Paula realizes just how much of an influence Carol has been on her and just how big a loss Carol’s resignation really is.
As always, McDermid is able to create situations that are emotionally charged without begin melodramatic. Through skilled plotting and pacing, she keeps Tony and Carol apart for more than two-thirds of the book before they are both inexorably drawn into Paula’s investigation, and while solving the murders is important, it’s the impact it has on Tony and Carol that makes for a riveting story.
Cross and Burn is the eight novel to feature Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, and I can only hope there are many more to come.
This book was furnished by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
My rating: 5 stars