If you expect your thrillers to be plausible, this is probably not the book for you. If you want to read a police procedural, this is definitely not the book for you. On the other hand, if you expect your thrillers to be thrilling you have hit gold dust. If you want your hero to be handsome, intelligent, athletic and deeply troubled, then you will love Detective Inspector Luc Callanach, a half-Scots, half-French true product of the Auld Alliance. If you want your villain to be reprehensible and vicious, then this is the book for you taste.
It is a rollercoaster ride through the murderous psyche of an extremely unpleasant man. There is absolutely no question that you, the reader, will want Luc Callanach to catch this man before any other woman falls victim to his misogynistic, lethal hatred. It is this obsessive need to control the other sex that lies at the heart of the story, and Luc Callanach is one of the victims of this obsession. It is why he is troubled and has ended up back in Scotland, which he left as a four-year old, in the first place.
All of this becomes very quickly apparent in the story, so I am not giving away any vital details of the plot. This is much more of a thriller than a detective mystery. You know who the villain is more or less from the start of the story. You know who the goodies and the baddies are. What you do not know is how the goodies will bring the baddies to book, and that is what keeps you turning the pages.
As I have indicated, there are points in the story where you may not be able to suspend your disbelief. For me, that came when the Episcopalian (i.e. Anglican) Bishop of Edinburgh agrees to pay for a psychological profiler because one of the victims is an Episcopalian priest. It is my view that Bishop John would have persuaded the Professor to do this pro Deo and the character is certainly arrogant enough to do exactly that without any concern for payment. That would have been far more believable. It is details of this kind that may give you pause for thought. [I am obviously too well-acquainted with the Scottish Episcopal Church to find this even remotely believable]. But it really does not matter because the story rolls forward like an unstoppable juggernaut, And you will enjoy the ride.
The major theme of this book is the simple one – will the killer be caught? But there is also an underlying plot. Is Luc Callanach going to be redeemed? And how is this going to happen? Is Detective Inspector Ava Turner the woman to do it? Will her career be ruined because she pursues cases of infanticide with too much rigour, taking on the full power of the Catholic Church in Scotland? This is a good dramatic story. I do not find it hard to visualise the film or TV adaptation.
I return to my original point. Do not expect this story to be plausible, but it is enjoyable. Read it for the fun of it.