Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for my advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Wow! So, after writing a series of ‘chic-lit’ (I don’t like the term, but for want of a better one I’ll use it here) books about an individual by the name of Coco Pinchard, and various other light-hearted romance novels, Robert Bryndza has moved over to the dark side and has created the intensely complex, intricate character that is DCI Erika Foster! I for one am thrilled, and even more so at the news that this is the first of at least 3 in a series about Foster, a hard-working, demanding cop facing some very difficult challenges that often make it extremely difficult for her to function in her daily life.
Andrea Douglas-Brown is a good-time girl. Young, beautiful, wealthy and spoilt, her body is found under a thick layer of ice and the South London Metropolitan Police Department is immediately under huge pressure to find her killer. DCI Erika Foster has been on forced leave for 7 months but Superintendent Marsh believes that she is the best person for the job (partly because of her expertise, but also because of a kinship with the victim’s mother in that they’re both of Slovakian origin), and also that it is time for her to return to work after the tragic events of her last case.
Immediately the case is hindered by the fact that Lord Douglas-Brown likes to throw his weight around – he’s a Labour Peer, a man of certain importance , who’s used to making the rules and to people following them. But that’s not how DCI Foster works. Together with her chosen sidekicks, Moss and Petersen, she intends to run things her way, despite being told otherwise by Marsh. And so begins a breath-taking cat and mouse chase during which Erika and her team need to deal with the unique arrogance of the affluent who truly believe that they are untouchable, and that their lives are lived by a completely different set of rules (or lack thereof) to the rest of the mere mortals.
Policing and politics come together to form a convoluted spider-web of intrigue, and the reader is left unsure as to whether justice is truly the desired outcome of those who are in the driving seat. Is there a legitimate honesty to their actions, or rather, a duplicitous agenda serving only themselves?
The other angle to the story that was of particular interest to me as a South African, was the blatant negative prejudice that was shown towards Erika and her obvious Slovakian background. It adds to her already prickly nature and sensitivity. The barb that struck me the most was when she is accused of having such an English name – Foster (her married name) – the suggestion being ‘how dare she, when she’s not really English?’
The action is fast-paced, there’s no shortage of twists, and I’ll admit, a couple of characters I wanted to punch in the face more than once or twice. It’s one of those books that will grip you and won’t let go until you find out ‘who did it’! So check that you’ve locked the doors and windows, and settle down for a good read.