Thus begins an unusual case which puts stress on all involved. Because the newly discovered body exposes mistaken identification in an old case, there will inevitably be a further investigation into whether the proper procedures were followed at that time. As the inquiry proceeds, it becomes obvious that there is a larger department-wide investigation going on... which only top officials are privy to. The plot is very complex but not at the expense of the reader's enjoyment.
The police detectives (Sadler, DC Connie Childs and her partner, DS Damian Palmer) are a significant presence in the story, but other characters related to the crime also play a big role. Lena, the murdered man's wife, and her sister Kat, a psychotherapist, are questioned about both cases. Kat is shocked by the revelation of years of secrets in her family. Connections are made to other members of the community.
The story does address some social issues, which I will not describe here because they are gradually revealed throughout the story and integral to the plot. This part was well done and the issues do not overwhelm the story.
I was impressed with the structure of this novel. I like the short chapters; they keep the story moving. There are flashbacks interspersed throughout the story, taking the reader back to key points in the time when the first crime occurred and events that led up to it. The story is seen from multiple points of view, primarily Kat's, and the detectives. This approach to storytelling works well for me but would not be to everyone's taste.
A Deadly Thaw is Sarah Ward's second novel and the second in the series featuring Francis Sadler and his team. It was released in the UK on September 1, 2016, and in the US on September 27, 2016.
In summary, my thoughts on this book agree with my assessment of the first book in the series, In Bitter Chill. This is a good police procedural, showing not only the investigative techniques but also the interactions between the members of the team and the upper level policemen, and how this can enhance or hamper their efforts. The story of the people affected by the crime is also a strong element. And, more important, the writing is very good, keeping me interested throughout. I look forward to more in this series.
Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2016 (orig. pub. in UK)
Length: 375 pages
Setting: Derbyshire, UK
Genre: Police procedural
Source: Provided by the publisher for review