From award-winning author Lynda La Plante comes the latest detective story involving Anna Travis, who must juggle old and new love affairs while tracking down one of the world’s deadliest drug dealers.
Ruthless drug trafficker Alexander Fitzpatrick is one of the most wanted men in the Western hemisphere. But for ten years, there’s been no sign of him. Is he dead, or just trying to appear that way? When an ex-colleague from the murder squad is found shot in a dank drug den, Anna Travis is pulled into the case. She’s grateful for the distraction after her breakup with DCI Langton, and soon finds herself involved with someone new.
But as the bodies pile up and the mystery deepens, Travis and Langton must put aside their personal history and work together to track down one of the shrewdest criminals they’ve ever encountered.
1. The book begins with a scene that reveals the murderer to the reader. As the book progresses, the reader has more knowledge of the crime than the detectives have access to. Why do you think the author chose to structure the story in this way as opposed to giving the reader the same perspective that was given to the detectives?
2. DCI Cunningham is very critical of Anna when they first meet. Why does she judge Anna so harshly? Does her opinion of Anna ever change?
3. “After all these months, he still had a stranglehold over her emotions. She knew that she was still in love with him, no matter what he had done” (page 156). This passage describes how Anna feels when she first sees Langton after their breakup. How do these feelings change as the book progresses?
4. Compare Anna’s feelings for Langton with her feelings for Pete. How are the two men different? Do they have any similarities?
5. Anna learns a great deal about detective work from DCI Langton and adopts his mantra that there is no such thing as a coincidence. How does this belief help her in solving the case?
6. What clues led Anna to believe that Alexander Fitzpatrick is back in the UK? Why is she the only one who thinks this is possible?
7. Despite Anna’s admiration for Langton’s detective work, she interrogates witnesses very differently than he does. Compare her interrogation techniques with those of Langton. Turn to page 341 for one example.
8. Langton frequently lectures Anna about the dangers of making suppositions. When he takes over the investigation, does he heed his own advice?
9. Anna repeatedly goes off on her own to do detective work, despite warnings from Langton and Cunningham. Do you think she is right to do so? Why or why not?
10. Who do you think killed Julia Brandon? Was she indeed on her way to Fitzpatrick’s boat when she died?
11. “I think we’ve got Fitzpatrick cornered. Now we bring in Honour and Damien Nolan” (page 517). Why does Langton wait so long before deciding to bring in the Nolans, despite the earlier recommendations of Travis and Cunningham? Do you think he was correct in choosing to wait?
12. Did you have faith that the detectives would catch the killer? Why or why not?
13. Should Anna have allowed Langton to endanger the children near the book’s end or was she right to step in? Did she deserve the punishment she received on account of her insubordination?
Tips to Enhance Your Book Club
Watch an episode of Prime Suspect, the television series that La Plante is most well known for writing, starring Helen Mirren. The show was broadcast on PBS as part of Masterpiece Theatre and is now available on DVD via services such as Netflix.
Find a point midway through the book to meet with your group and guess how the book’s events will pan out. Will they capture the killer(s)? Will Travis and Langton get back together? How many more people will be found murdered? Write down your predictions so you can come back to them once you’ve finished reading.
Find out more about the author’s production company, La Plante Productions, by visiting its website at www.laplanteproductions.com.
Lynda La Plante's many novels, including the Prime Suspect series, have all been international bestsellers. She is an honorary fellow of the British Film Institute and a member of the UK Crime Writers Awards Hall of Fame. She was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2008. She runs her own television production company and lives in London and Easthampton, New York. Visit her website at LaplanteBooks.com.