St. Martin's, Jan 2003, 24.95, 336 pp.
A female rowing team practicing on the Thames reports the bones they seen. Detective Inspector Jessie Driver is assigned the case of investigating the headless skeleton as a wasted time punishment from a peer. However, rather than ignore the bones or just do a cursory evaluation though she knows her colleague set her up out of spite, Jessie feels something is not right about the decomposition. She brings together a team and soon learns acid was used on the bones of actress Verity Shore, wife of music legend P.J. Dean.
Jessie and her team begin looking into the homicide even as the media presses for more information. As Jessie conducts herself in an exemplary manner showing strong leadership ability, she and the prime suspect P.J. find themselves attracted to one another. If Jessie is not careful more than just her heart and impartiality will vanish, her credibility and reputation will go too.
DEAD ALONE is a strong British police procedural that really goes into high gear once the investigation on the banks of Thames starts. Readers will enjoy Jessie as she thwarts a nasty rival through step by step clue gathering including “jellyfish” analysis to identify the skeletal remains. A sidebar involving a paroled murderer and the victim's survivor is also interesting, but slows down the prime plot of Jessie seeking a reason to kill while trying to avoid the one person she must suspect has the means, opportunity and motive.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner