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Stephen Booth, one of the most acclaimed new voices in crime fiction, takes us to a remote region of northern England where a prehistoric ring of stones, the Nine Virgins, harbors a dark legend.
With winter looming, a tenth figure soon joins the circle: the body of young cyclist Jenny Weston, whose limbs are carefully arranged in death to parody a woman dancing. Weeks earlier, another woman, Maggie Crew, was attacked nearby, her face savagely cut open. Is there a maniac on the loose, knifing women at random? Maggie may hold the answer, but she has no memory of the attack. The painful images are buried deep in her wounded psyche. It will take time and patience to convince Maggie to face the demons of her past.
But are the two crimes—Jenny’s murder and Maggie’s assault—linked by something other than geography? Was there…[more]
It’s a long, hot summer in Northern England’s Peak District, where police helicopters darken blue skies and drown out the sound of birdsong. Fifteen-year-old Laura Vernon, smart, sexy, and the keeper of many secrets, is missing. Possibly she has run off to London. Possibly she’s dead. The police search, the wealthy parents wait by the phone. Detective Constable Ben Cooper quietly dreads the worst.
When retired miner Harry Dickinson and his black Labrador find the body lying in the woods, Harry’s strangely obstinate refusal to cooperate with the investigation raises more than a few eyebrows.
What about the parents? Graham Vernon is a man who knows all about secrets. What are he and his glamorous wife holding back? …[more]