It’s still dark when Detective Inspectors Luc Callanach and Ava Turner arrive at the crime scene. A local farmhand, up before dawn to move his cattle, had stumbled upon the young woman’s body not an hour beforehand, and the Edinburgh country road where she had been found, generally isolated, is now crowded with police cars, crime scene tape, and investigators with grim looks on their faces.
Luc and Ava have both seen their fair share of dead bodies, but not even they are prepared for what lies beneath the white forensics sheet by the side of the road. The young woman – long brown hair, brown eyes, somewhere between sixteen and twenty years old – has had massive sections of skin cut from her stomach and back, and her lower half is encrusted in dried blood.
It’s a gruesome, sobering sight, but the dreadful discoveries don’t stop there. Back at the laboratory, pathologists examine the young woman’s body more closely, and find that the two sections of missing skin are carved into identical shapes, each roughly resembling the outline of a person. For whatever sick reason, the killer cut two miniature figures from his victim’s stomach and back.
Luc and Ava identify the victim quickly enough – she was Zoey Cole, aged eighteen – but despite interviewing family, friends and the workers at the women’s shelter where Zoey was living, the pair struggle to find any leads in her case. Zoey’s killer isn’t finished, however, and it’s only a few short weeks before another young woman disappears from a busy Edinburgh street, leaving behind her baby in a pram.
As they examine the pram for clues, Luc and Ava come across a horrifying doll beneath the blankets, and a quick trip to the laboratory confirms the pair’s gravest fears: the doll is made from the skin of the first victim, Zoey Cole. Soon after, the missing mother is found murdered and mutilated in the same fashion that Zoey was, and Luc and Ava realise that the Babydoll Killer is playing a terrifying game. Can they stop him before another doll is found? Before another young woman is abducted? Or are they already too late?
As the fourth installment in Helen Fields’s bestselling D.I Callanach series, Perfect Silence has been eagerly anticipated, and it does not disappoint. A masterfully-paced thriller with a bone-chilling and utterly engrossing serial murder mystery at its heart, Perfect Silence draws you in almost immediately, and has you reading long, long into the night.
The greatest police procedurals are fronted by well rounded and well drawn heroes and heroines, and in this sense (and in many others), Perfect Silence is up there with the best of them. In the hands of a less skilled writer, Luc Callanach and Ava Turner could have become the cutout characters that populate so many run-of-the-mill crime thrillers, but Field’s nuanced and compelling characterisation and pitch-perfect dialogue makes her key players feel real, and it’s just as intriguing to learn more about the pair’s personal lives in this latest instalment as it is to follow their hunt for the Babydoll Killer.
Perfect for fans of Karin Slaughter and Lisa Gardner, you won’t want to miss this unique and original new thriller.
About the author:
Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she practiced criminal and family law for thirteen years, and now runs a film production company with her husband, where she acts as scriptwriter and producer. Beyond this, of course, Helen is also a bestselling author, having written two fantasy novels and a series of crime thrillers, all set in Scotland. Perfect Silence is the fourth book in her D.I Callanach crime thriller series.