When D.I. Mahoney is called to the scene of a ritualistic murder in southern Tasmania, he and his team must unlock the mind behind the murder before the killer can claim his next victim.
The theatrically staged crime scene confounds the detective as he quickly realizes that he’s faced with apprehending a psychotic, yet methodical killer. Although Mahoney is confident in the forensic and investigative arms of his Homicide Squad, he’s unsure that he has the necessary psychological insight to apprehend a murderer who seems so unhinged.
After a second ritual slaying, Mahoney makes the startling discovery that the victims come from a seemingly privileged upbringing and, that the killer is intent on squaring up with those who he sees as being unjustifiably advantaged.
In pursuit of a potential suspect, the detective finds that his quarry is relishing the cat and mouse game that the two are playing. Now, Mahoney must use every resource available to him if he is to end the killing spree of this dangerous psychopath… and if he is also to save one of his own.
TSU Publishers Weekly Review, August 2nd 2021
A vivid, convincing Tasmanian police procedural boasting sharply characterized investigators
This fourth installment in Brown’s Detective Inspector Mahoney series follows DI John Mahoney and an extensive team of detectives and forensic investigators as they track down a possible serial killer linked to multiple murders in modern-day southern Tasmania. Alongside newly promoted Detective Sergeant Kate Kendall, and recently confirmed Detective Constable David Gibson, Mahoney quickly becomes immersed in the gruesome murder of a wealthy businessman, found bound and mutilated in a dark, symbolic manner. The investigation kickstarts a cat-and-mouse game with a vengeful killer who manages to stay one step ahead of Mahoney and his crew until an intense, unexpected finish.
Brown, who is native to the island, brings southern Tasmania to life with local colour and destinations, notably Opossum Bay, the Derwent River, and Mount Wellington. The dialogue, especially amongst detectives, is authentic to the area and adds an element of immersive familiarity, inviting readers into the milieu: “‘Good on you and all that, getting into the Squad. Suits you,’ Herrick affirmed. ‘Not for me though, mate. Need to keep on the regular shifts for me footy.’”
The investigation drives the plot, of course, though Brown takes the time to offer insight into the hearts and minds of his investigators. A sleep deprived Mahoney, who had “read a bit about Hobbes and Locke without fully comprehending their ideas,” struggles with recurring dreams linked to his anxieties surrounding the case, while DS Kendall challenges misogynistic attitudes as she climbs the ranks in the male-dominated Serious Crimes Squad. New to the team, Gibson struggles with making the jump from patrol officer to detective while trying to prove his worth to the experienced Mahoney. The prologue and some other chapters are told from the killer’s point of view, which raises the stakes and adds an extra level of thrill to the case. Fans of crime thrillers and cozy mysteries alike will revel in this realistically complex police procedural.