Set in Cambridge this is the second book in the series that features the young DC Gary Goodhew who along with the team are under pressure when an arson attack is seemingly linked to a child abduction.
It is a long time since I read Cambridge Blue, the first in this series but powerful enough for me to remember the complex crime that showcased Alison Bruce’s accomplished writing with a good plot backed up with a detective in a newer mould than many we meet in police procedurals. The Siren is no different except that perhaps the why was somewhat elusive somewhat spoiling the many strands reaching back into the past that got us there.
We first meet Kimberly Guyver with her friend Rachel Golinski plotting her getaway following the discovery of a body of a man in Spain. Both women know that the trail will lead back to them and Kimberly has no choice but to leave Cambridge if she is to protect her young son .Riley. Within hours Rachel’s house is set alight and Riley is missing. Kimberly has problems with authority, we glean why from the parts of the book that detail her background but she grows to trust the young detective Gary Goodhew. As in the first book our detective is apt to follow leads without keeping his boss DI Marks in the loop. In common with many police procedurals there is a smattering of politics this after all is a team and not one man solving a crime by himself, and through these exchanges I found Goodhew is developing as a far more rounded character as are some of his team, which include the obligatory self-serving detective, in this case, Kincaid. Kincaid and Goodhew are reluctant partners being as they are polar opposites with Goodhew’s main motivation in life being to solve the crimes whilst being a bit of a failure in his personal life while Kincaid wants to further himself, relishing the failures in others but seemingly having no problems tempting the women around him.
I am glad I read Cambridge Blue first and really although I really enjoyed the writing in The Siren which is steadily placed and entertaining, unfortunately. I wasn’t as gripped by this one. I need to understand the motivation of the main characters particularly the perpetrator and while the clues fitted I didn’t feel that there was enough justification for the crimes committed. I also had a few problems with Kimberly, although I knew a lot about her, we were left to assume why she took some of the decisions she did on fairly unsubstantiated grounds – I know I often complain about being spoon-fed information in books but this one just went a little too far in the other direction.
The pacing which started on the slow side, this isn’t a book to open and expect wall-to-wall action, which is fine by me, steadily picked up and the tension was high as the search for reached crisis point, with some outstandingly good writing which really gave a sense of the emotions of everyone involved.
Not an outstanding all-round read but a book with sufficient good points for me to look forward to another in the series.