Three-quarters of the way through Perfect Prey by Helen Fields, at 10.30 on a summer’s evening, I dragged a lamp out to the conservatory so I could read on until I reached the end. That’s a sure sign of an unputdownable book. There’s lots to like about Perfect Prey. It’s an absorbing story with interesting, complex characters, narrated at a fast pace with lots of action and nice short chapters.
So, what’s Perfect Prey about?
This is is a policy procedural — the second in a series by Helen Fields featuring Detective Inspector Luc Callanach. The story begins with an apparently out-of-the-blue stabbing at an open air concert in Edinburgh. Soon, it turns out the killing is just the first in a series of attention-grabbing murders. But are they linked? Who’s behind them and why?
Investigating the crimes are DI Callanach, a French/Scottish police officer with hints of an intriguing back story and DI Ava Turner.
At first, there are few clues to follow but when words connected to the crimes begin to appear in graffiti around Edinburgh it becomes clear that the murderer or murderers are announcing the occupation of their intended victims in advance.
When Luc needs help to track the online activities of the murder suspects, he turns not to police experts, but to a private operator, Ben Paulson and an online journalist. This creates tension with Ava’s boyfriend — a Scotland Yard investigator who specialises in investigating in cybercrime. You get the sense there’s more to this tension than just the cases they’re working on. Could it have something to do with Ava? Or it is just because the boyfriend is nasty piece of work?
These are really interesting characters with complicated personal lives and hints of a shared history. As soon as I finished Perfect Prey, I went out and bought Perfect Remains, the first novel in the series. I look forward to reading it next and hope to read more Helen Fields in future. If you like crime thrillers, keep an eye out for her!
[Disclosure: I read an uncorrected proof of Perfect Prey thanks to publisher Harper Collins.]