Saturday, 22 December 1973 - Derby
The boy looked up from sorting through his football cards to watch him mum light another cigarette. Her hands were tight and clumsy as she fumbled for her props but, eventually, the hiss of gas and a guttering flame signalled job done. Tossing her gold lighter on to the coffee table, she took a quivering draw, holding the blue-grey poison in her lungs for a beat before exhaling across the room.
Jeff watched in silence as she tried to ease back and relax but she couldn’t manage it, at once pulling back her frame to the edge of the sofa, her legs bent double, her tension-wracked shoulders invisible under the uncombed hair. She played with her housework-reddened hands, sometimes picking at a jagged nail, sometimes swivelling the two rings round her wedding finger.
‘I’m hungry, Mum,’ said Jeff, in that way children have of asking for things without actually posing the question.
Without looking over at him she answered, her voice hoarse and strained. ‘Dad’s home in an hour.’
Jeff gazed unblinking, waiting for her to crack. It didn’t happen. ‘But I’m hungry now.’
‘You can have a sandwich when Dad gets home,’ she replied, trying to keep the rising emotion from her voice. She glanced his way to reassure but it didn’t take.
Published by Headline on the 4th July 2013
The Cold Case Unit of Derby Constabulary feels like a morgue to DI Damen Brook. But in disgrace and recently back from suspension, his boss thinks it’s the safest place for him.
But Brook isn’t going down without a fight and when he uncovers a pattern in a series of murders that date back to 1963, he is forced to dig deeper. How could a killer stay undetected for so long? Could it be luck or are there more sinister forces at work?
Applying his instincts and razor sharp intelligence, Brook delves deep into the past of both suspects and colleagues unsure where the hunt will lead him. What he does know for sure is that a significant date is approaching fast and the killer may be about to strike again…
Reviewed by Georgina Tranter
This is the fourth novel by Steven Dunne featuring DI Damen Brook. Following on from his previous case, Brook has been placed on suspension and is just returning to the force, a figure in disgrace. There is only one place for a policeman such as him and that is to be stationed in the basement of the police station working on the cold cases of the
Derbyshire force. But as you can probably imagine, he’s a good policeman, and his instincts soon lead him to reinvestigate a number of murders, that date back as early as 1963.
Unfortunately for Brook, there aren’t many left on the force that he hasn’t already managed to antagonise, so he is left pretty much a one-man team with his enquiries. But has he discovered a developing pattern that has been left undiscovered by his predecessors, or was the now-deceased DCI Sam Bannon actually on to something when he flagged up the supposed ‘Pied Piper’ killer all those years ago? If that is the case, Brook only has a matter of weeks before the killer strikes again!
This is a well-written, fast-paced novel. Despite the plethora of characters that Dunne manages to entwine into the book, it’s a real page-turner. I couldn’t wait to find out if Brook was right and that there was a link to the Cold Case Unit and if he would catch the killer in time, of if other factors were actually at work. If you are a fan of crime fiction, which I most definitely am, and haven’t discovered Steven Dunne yet, this is a pretty good place to start. As for me, I’m off to devour his back catalogue!