This book opens with the horrific murder of a priest who is then left discarded in the church. Enter DCI Claire Winters who is juggling a somewhat unruly team, not helped by the fact she has mixed business with pleasure with her junior Sergeant Michael Diego.
I’ll be honest, it took me a little while to get into the swing of this book. I’m not a fan of explicit violence and Father Wainwright’s murder which occurred early on, didn’t help. As is the norm with police procedurals there was a whole cast of characters with the police eagerly questioning those who were known to see the priest on his last day. The man identified as being the last to meet the priest was one of his close friends, Mark Jenkins who was also involved in Shrovesbury Manor, a retreat for spiritual enlightenment, where Father Wainwright worked as well as being a regular at his church.
Alongside the police procedural we had flashbacks from the murderer as well as the mysterious Guardian whose identity is shrouded in mystery. The change in viewpoints can be quite brief which can be a little disconcerting, especially early on in the novel. With the team of detectives on the case being well-represented, with banter and egos cropping up in equal measure adding another layer of credibility to the novel. I liked Claire Winters who was strong without ever becoming overbearing and I felt a far more realistic portrayal of a woman in her role than other books in this genre. With the glimpses of her personal life leaking into her time at work was a great, and realistic way of giving the detective character without making the book more about her than the murders.
Despite putting the hours into the investigation it isn’t too long before another murder is committed! This time the victim is as far removed from a priest as is possible and the police struggle to find any commonality, except method, to link the two. As the police pick away at the few clues they have, they are left probing at half-truths and outright lies, with a few manipulative tears thrown in for good measure. With some of those they want to question are not willing to oblige, I felt we got a realistic view of a typical murder enquiry and the author handled this aspect really well, I felt involved rather than bored by the investigation because I was busy putting the same clues together, albeit with a bit of extra information.
Often when the identity of the murderer is half-revealed at the start, as in this novel, it is hard to keep the mystery element alive and kicking. After all we know the motive for the murders early on and we also know who is next on the hit-list but despite the author making life unnecessarily hard for herself, there was plenty still to discover and by the time I was a third of the way through I was busily turning the pages at a rate of knots to find out the missing parts of the puzzle. And I can reveal the ending… was terrific!
I’d like to thank Carina who sent me a copy of For All Our Sins which was published in paperback format on 6 October 2016.