Hardcover, 384 pages Published September 3rd 2019 by Minotaur Books
In North Devon, England, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. Once loved and cherished by the Brethren, the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.
Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his detectives. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death. The case calls Matthew back into the community he’d thought to leave behind, as deadly secrets hidden at its heart are revealed, and his past and present collide.
Matthew Venn is just a regular guy – a cop turned detective after putting in his time but also a very good person. He was brought up in a strict religious community but had come to the conclusion early on that he just didn’t agree with all their rules and tenets. Unfortunately, you either agreed or you were out and as much as it hurt he followed his heart. Now with the new case and leads beginning to point him back to the Brethren he has to discover what if anything the murder and the mysterious kidnappings of young women had to do with one another.
The pace of this was to my mind a bit on the slow side in the beginning but it sped up. I did find it quite interesting to follow all the loose ends and tiny bits of clues as Matthew and his team dug into the murder and then missing young women to discover how the connections started to knit together.
The characterizations of the lead characters were beautifully molded together with compassion and love. I particularly loved that Matthew and his husband were treated as not an oddity, but as two people who genuinely cared for one another, even though the Brethren had to get a couple of snipes in along the way. However, the writing and the story itself were both done exceptionally well and I love a great mystery so yes, I highly recommend this book. Good solid writing.