The Kill Call and Lost River are almost two parts of a single story, linked by Dianne Fry having to revisit an event in her past that has shaped her life and career, and is deemed to be affecting her work as a Detective Sergeant.
In The Kill Call there seems to be links between the discovery of a body in a field, and the local fox hunting traditions. Around the time of the suspicious death, blasts of a hunting horn had been heard, signalling the “kill call”, that in earlier days heralded the killing of a hunted fox.
Booth’s stories mix contemporary issues, folklore, tradition, and elements of recent history into police crime investigations. This book includes references to cold war era nuclear warning procedures as well as modified, present day fox hunt practices (where the trappings and colour of the chase are maintained without the cruelty of killing a fox).
These things are woven around central crimes in which extra-judicial attempts to right past wrongs seemed to have played a part. How could these disparate elements of traditional and history have a bearing on the investigation of the man’s death, and how do they explain why an important witness seems to have gone into hiding, without trace?
During this investigation, DS Fry finds herself drawn into a scenario related to her personal history where she might finally see justice done, but what will be the personal cost?
Lost River continues Fry’s story.
In the latter part of The Kill Call she was approached by a rape cold-case team who are confident of finally getting a conviction for an attack on Fry several years before. She travels to Birmingham to help with the enquiries, as a witness instead of investigator.
However the investigation doesn’t progress smoothly and it seems like someone wants the truth to remain hidden.
DS Fry tries to find out why the case has stalled again, seeking help from a paranoid ex-colleague who leads her to look for answers from a disbarred lawyer. She discovers that finding the truth is potentially not always the best outcome.
I was annoyed by the beginning of the book. Long parts of it seemed to be cut and pasted from sections of the previous book. Word for word repetition of significant slabs of text might not have been so noticeable if I’d had a break between books, but I started reading this one immediately after finishing the other. It was a laziness I didn’t expect, and the desired recapping ought to have been handled better.
While DS Fry has to follow her uncomfortable personal path, DC Cooper faces his own troubles after being present at, and unable to prevent, the drowning of a young local girl. He has flashbacks of the experience which seem to indicate the drowning wasn’t an accident, but can those apparent recurring memories be trusted?
Both Cooper and Fry, in their respective cases, discover the complications and hazards of family dysfunction and its potential to cause harm.