The narrative moves back two years to chart the course of the relationship and to introduce the couple’s circle of friends, all of whom have some air of suspicion about them. Readers will enjoy the fast pace, red herrings, and intriguing characters in this British police procedural-slash-psychological thriller.
Gytha Lodge’s sophomore thriller delivers an opening worthy of Hitchcock ...The beauty of Lodge’s writing is her ability to juxtapose the careful sleuthing of a police procedural against an emotional deep dive into the lives of her characters. Zoe is not just a body and a point of focus for Lodge’s male detective; rather, she is granted a complex identity. In a genre that often commodifies the bodies of dead women, the care given to Zoe’s character feels especially important ... As the novel wraps up, secrets are revealed and characters exposed for who they really are, the reader can fall back on Sheens’ reliability in an atmosphere where no one is trustworthy. Lodge’s autopsy of complicated friendships and love affairs feels occasionally tragic, but the justice that Sheens and his team deliver is eminently satisfying.
Lodge alternates between chapters following the investigation into Zoe’s death and chapters that recount the final 20 months of her life, allowing the reader to understand Zoe as a fully rounded and complicated character, not just a victim. This choice, trendy in thrillers but almost always effective when the characters are strong, consistently reminds us to look beyond simplistic binaries of victim and perpetrator, innocent and guilty, and recognize that all humans make problematic choices, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad. Lodge's choices celebrate the complexity of humanity and elevate this police procedural.