Snake Pass, the Peak District: The car of Gemma Wishart, a young researcher in Russian languages, is discovered, abandoned, by a walker; the driver has vanished without trace. Over in Hull, the body of a woman is discovered battered to death in a hotel bathroom; the only clue to her identity is a card bearing the name of an escort agency notorious for its suspected trafficking in Eastern European prostitutes.
For Detective Inspector Lynne Jordan, the missing academic and the murder victim have a tenuous connection. Jordan is in charge of a police operation to stamp out the illegal trade in human flesh and Wishart was helping her with transcripts of an interview with one such woman, who has subsequently turned up dead in the Humber Estuary. But it’s possible there is another, even darker, force at work, and when two more bodies turn up, Lynne is forced to conclude there may be a serial killer on the loose.
‘Dark, edgy and compelling’ The Times
Beyond the new city centre developments, the old Sheffield canal is overgrown, run-down and deserted. Signs of regeneration creep along its towpaths, including a small, innovative gallery housed in one of the warehouses. But between the renovations it’s a dark and lonely place – the perfect site for an exhibition reworking Brueghel’s The Triumph of Death.
For Elisa Eliot, the curator, the chance to show well-known artist Daniel Flynn’s work at the gallery is a coup. But when a young woman’s body is found in the canal, Flynn’s nightmare images begin to spill out into the real world. Still affected by the murder of her friend’s daughter four years earlier, Eliza is drawn deep into the violence that seems to surround the gallery. Is this the work of a psychopath or is there a link between present horrors and the tragedy of four years before?