DS Vicky Dodds and her team are charged with investigating the disappearance of a dog breeder in Dundee. It soon becomes clear that they’re dealing with a sadistic abduction motivated by accusations of animal cruelty and that this case is linked to a number of others. As the crimes escalate Vicky’s own sympathies and personal life are called into question – could the man she’s falling for be involved somehow?
James has created a cast of memorable characters in this intelligent and fast-paced police procedural, not least his lead: DS Vicky Dodds is a single mother with a fear of commitment, an unparalleled work ethic and an overbearing, but ultimately doting family. The negotiation between her home- and work-life really made me empathise with Vicky and by the end of the novel I found myself rooting for her.
The plot is tight with a number of twists and red herrings which made for a thoroughly enjoyable read. Short chapters maintained a fast tempo and gave a genuine sense of urgency as the team hunted down the perpetrators. This was definitely a smart, well-researched novel and I would be keen to read more in the series. Despite having my suspicions about one character from the start (which turned out to be justified) I was kept guessing right up until the last page. Highly recommended for fans of tartan noir.