4 out of 5 stars
A man staggers down a passageway in the small town and finds a lady slumped on the ground and covered in blood. He sees the knife on the ground, picks it up and then panics and drops it down a nearby drain and rushes away from the scene. She is found and taken to hospital, where the surgeons say that the knife missed her eye by 2mm and declare her lucky to be alive.
Most of the residents of the town are shocked by this unprovoked attack. But the victim, Josephine Jenks, a former soft porn star seems unperturbed by the attention. Roddy Mace, a journalist for the local newspaper is covering the crime, however, given her background, the Sun newspaper really want a scoop on this and they dispatch the pretty unpleasant hack, Jeremy Fitz, to the town to secure the interviews and exclusive coverage.
A day or so later there is a second attack, the wife of an alcoholic is slashed and also ends up in hospital. Her idle husband starts to put together a mob to find the attacker themselves as the police aren’t making any progress. Two further people are slashed, a guy who staggers into a restaurant bleeding profusely and a husband finds his wife dead in a farm building. This is now a murder enquiry. Just as the hysteria reaches its peak, a copper who has been put on rest from the force re-appears back in the town and starts developing his own theories about the crimes as he follows his own leads with the help of Mace.
It has the standard tropes of a copper returning after he sees the pretty hopeless local police station is floundering. But there are much darker shards in the plot, it is full of menace as the attacks seem unprovoked and unrelated, the rapid rise of the mob and their intentions is pretty scary too. This is the forth of Myers books that I have read now, and whilst I preferred The Gallows Pole and Beastings, it is still one of the best crime books that I have read in a long while. It is the classic Myers lyrical writing too, it is as much about the place and the landscape as it is about the untangling of the crime, but fast-paced and really really good.