From the beginning of this book something bothered me, I could not remember the name of the Hitchcock [?] film about two strangers who meet on a train and each agrees to kill the others partner.
Take that concept and add 21st century technology and you have this gripping, intelligent, details and totally plausible book. Our main character Edwin Murphy has a problem, his wife hands him divorce papers and intends taking their daughter to New York as she has a new job out there. Edwin wants his old life back, the separation was supposed to be temporary and everything was going to go back to normal and he’d be the active father not the weekend dad. An idea born from a seed planted by his brother-in-law sets his on the seemingly perfect road, but as we know when it comes to illegal things, the perfect road always leads to a jail cell.
It is easy, via ‘The Darknet’ a sinister underground anonymous internet network he can get a stranger to kill his wife, and thus a chain of murders for swaps begin. Only Edwin has no intention of murdering anyone, he just gets the next in the chain to handle the previous issue, which is a workable idea until you get the link who cannot kill and the link that killed for another but their own wanted kill is still alive.
DCI Morton has a handful of unconnected murders, lacking in any evidence or motive, but something has to be going on because bodies don’t just die in these manners. Internal feuds, enforced desk duty, cases handled by those not fully aware of all the facts, and delays result in the key to it all almost being lost and the puppet master almost getting away.
As with any crime novel, the police always get their man, and he always goes to prison, and the world is all right again, but just sometimes you wonder if in reality in a scenario such as this book, maybe, just maybe, he could have got away with it.
Excellent read – if I had but one complaint it was that the final couple of chapters were too quick, as in, too much was done with too little details, unlike the rest of the book.