I’ve read a few books from this series and they have all been very good. This book is no exception. It starts with the arrival of a boat on a deserted Dorset beach one dark night. The boat is filled, overloaded really, with asylum seekers. But as it struggles through the waves breaking on the shore the overloaded boat tips, spilling its human cargo into the water. Four out of the original 30 refugees drown. The boat skipper (people smuggler) jumps out at the first sign of trouble and disappears swiftly - the refugees are on their own!
Police swoop on the scene and try to organise some of the chaos. Meanwhile a couple of bodies have turned up dead in what police later discover are so-called safe houses. But who runs them, who were the residents hiding from? It’s all very hush hush as the spooks and the home office get involved. Detective Superintendent Sophie Allen and her team struggle to make any headway after after having doors figuratively slammed in their faces, but they persevere. What they uncover is a ruthless organisation mopping up its mistakes. There are many red herrings, dead ends and misdirection though. Can the police prevent more killings and can they catch the culprits?
I can’t say more about the plot without spoilers. What I can tell you is that is was a satisfying and meaty mystery that was a lot of fun to try and solve. It was quite intricately plotted and the characters were credible. I guess it also showed how easy it could be to exploit desperate refugees for profit without caring one iota for their welfare. Sadly this is all too common. This book would appeal to anyone who enjoys a good, plausible police procedural or putting a jigsaw together, because that’s what this puzzle was like. Many thanks to Netgalley, Joffe Books and Michael Hambling for my copy. My opinions are my own.