|Date Published||23 February 2017|
Zoë Grant is an aspiring artist on the verge of a breakthrough with a local gallery. Garda Detective Cathy Connolly is called to investigate a break in at Zoë’s home and discovers an old wedding dress, ripped open, with baby’s bones hidden in the hem.
The ensuing investigation uncovers a troubled family history. Zoë comes from a wealthy and privileged background and her mother has long since disappeared. Her grandmother is the wealthy owner of a chain of high-end department stores and lives with an exceptionally unpleasant friend. A few days later the grandmother is found dead in her home.
Meanwhile, there is a parallel plot in which a criminal killer, escaping the attention of both the law and a network of powerful criminals, has arrived in Dublin and is seeking to avenge old scores.
The plot includes many coincidental meetings. Zoë’s art catches the eye of a gallery owner who happens to be a good friend of Cat. When troubled she gains the support of another of Cat’s friends. This interweaving of characters gives a strong sense of realism to the story and facilitates the strand which refers to Cat’s own personally troubled life.
The story is well written although I found the strand referring to the criminal who is apparently about to intrude on the whole story with violent intent to be rather two dimensional and lacking the reality and conviction of the more domestic story. I think that his character could have been developed with more relevance to the main plot.
The untangling of the complex and unhappy history of Zoë’s family is handled in a satisfying way. But the ending of the book comes out of the blue.
Reviewed 24 June 2017 by John Barnbrook