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Retirement has not come easy for Detective Inspector Frank Elder. He’s fled west, into a solitary existence on the Cornish coast, but he can’t escape the past. He continues to be troubled by his wife’s betrayal, he worries over their teenage daughter, he’s haunted by bad dreams that lead him to the body of a sixteen-year-old girl.
Susan Blacklock would be thirty now. But fourteen years ago she disappeared, and for fourteen years the case of the missing schoolgirl with a flair for drama has gone unsolved. Not that Elder hadn’t had his suspects. In fact, he’d seen the two of them—Shane Donald and Alan McKeirnan—convicted a year later for the brutal rape and murder of another young, pretty girl whose body had been buried in a sandy grave. And now, with Shane granted an early release from prison, Elder feels compelled to return to the seaside scenes of the crime. …[more]
In the depths of his Cornish hideaway, retired Detective Inspector Frank Elder’s solitary life is disturbed by a call from his estranged wife, telling him his seventeen-year-old daughter, Katherine, is running wild, unbalanced by the abduction and rape he feels he should have prevented. Meanwhile, in the heart of London, the takedown of a violent criminal goes badly, and Detective Sergeant Maddy Birch is uneasy about the reasons why, an uneasiness that is compounded when she starts to believe she is being stalked.
Maddy and Frank have a connection, a brief and clumsy encounter years before that has left a trace of lingering regret. In Ash & Bone their lives connect again when a second phone call persuades the unsettled, unhappy Elder out of retirement, only to find that a cold case has a devastating present-day impact.