You’d know if someone close to you was capable of lethal violence, right? Dead wrong. Accused of grassing up a fellow officer and driven brutally out of home and job, Grace Fisher is thankful to survive some dark times and find haven with the Major Investigation Team in Essex. One female student is missing, last seen at a popular bar in Colchester. When a second student, also out drinking, is murdered and left grotesquely posed, the case becomes headline news.
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Who can you turn to if not the police? Essex, Christmas Day. As the residents of a small town enjoy their mince pies, shots ring out in the street. Five people are gunned down before the lone shooter turns his weapon on himself. Grace Fisher, now Detective Inspector, is tasked with making some sense of this atrocity - all the more sensitive because the first of the victims was one of their own: a police officer.
A young psychiatric registrar is found beaten to death in the woods close to a summer camp for young patients suffering from eating disorders. It is run by the charismatic, world-renowned Professor Ned Chesham. DI Grace Fisher investigates, but it is not long before she is pulled from the case - to head up a Metropolitan Police review into a cold case involving Chesham himself.