BLIND FURY - Lynda La Plante
I've been happily reading the Anna Travis series by Lynda La Plante since the first book and enjoying them. Despite a few odds and ends that can be mildly annoying. Ongoing romantic angst, a tricky senior officer (in this case the early on love interest as well), and some seriously big books without always having quite enough story to fill out all of the pages.
BLIND FURY, unfortunately, nearly defeated me before the end. Which is a pity. Because the investigative elements of this book are actually not too bad. It does take a while for things to get moving mind you - but it's an interesting sort of a case, with the bodies of two young unidentified girls and an identified older prostitute seemingly having little in common. Aside from the circumstances of the dumping of their corpses, and the way in which they were raped and killed. Identifying the victims requires a lot of good old fashioned police investigative work - a lot of which is done by the team that Anna is working with - with flashes of insight from Anna herself. At the same time, for reasons best known to DCS Langton, Anna and a colleague also find themselves visiting a maximum security jail to discuss the case with a previously convicted multiple murderer who claims he has a unique insight into the mindset of this new killer.
Langton and Anna have a romantic history (they lived together at one point) and both have moved on. A while ago. It is mentioned, not quite as frequently as in earlier books, and it's sort of spiced up a little with some vaguely longing behaviour from Langton which seems to cause Anna to realise, frequently, that she's moved on. Moved on to the point where she forms a relationship with one of the guards on the unit where killer Cameron Welsh is held. And at this point the personal elements of the story start declaring themselves in bold face letters, with a little neon decoration for good measure.
BLIND FURY heads off into unbelievable territory fairly quickly - with the unfathomable concentration on an unconnected, unqualified, convicted killer as some sort of "expert" witness in the case. Which didn't stack up well on it's own, let alone when you also have to accept some of the leaps of brilliance or "intuition" elements of the normal Anna investigation style. Normally this sort of thing is a little easier to swallow as previous books have belted along at a good pace, but this one dragged. As the focus is increasingly on Anna and her personal life, the concentration on the actual investigation wanes - and that got really annoying, as the process of identifying the two unknown girls, connecting them to the dead prostitute and then the painstaking work required to try to identify suspects was reasonably compelling. Or at least it felt so stacked up beside the inevitability of the trainwreck that is Anna's personal life.
Overall there just wasn't enough of the good elements to hide or compensate for the increasingly sinking feeling of inevitability that hit as soon as a new man walked into Anna's life and the book dragged on to its foreseeable and really disappointing conclusion.
A motorway service station on the M1: dimly lit, run down, poorly supervised, flickering lights, dark corners; a favourite stopover for long-distance lorry drivers on their way up north from London. Behind it, a body is found in a ditch, that of a girl barely out of her teens. She appears to have no family, no friends, no connections anywhere. Other girls have gone missing in the vicinity and no one has stepped forward to claim them.