Detectives Adrian Miles and Imogen Grey return in Katrina Diamond’s sixth book in her crime thriller series. Katerina immediately establishes an atmosphere of fear, mystery and danger when a Woman in the Water is found and pulled from a freezing river. Adrian Miles is the first on the scene of what he expects to be a corpse and he drags the body onto the bank. As he stands over the deathly body of a badly beaten woman she reaches out and grabs his leg. Jane Doe is taken to the hospital where she starts to make a recovery while claiming amnesia regarding her name, assailant or reason for her attack. She also refuses to give any blood or DNA samples and the marks on her body are consistent with a woman in an abusive relationship.
A dead male was discovered close by, his body badly mutilated. While Adrian and Imogen start to investigate his murder, Jane Doe absconds from the hospital, and they have no means of tracking her down. Their investigation leads them to the man’s employer and it isn’t too long before they recognise the woman, still bruised but pretending she doesn’t know them. They play along, although this strikes a chord with Adrian’s family past and he takes the crime personally.
The main suspect is an imperious man who over the years has built a belief that he is untouchable and has no boundaries in what he would do to protect himself. The investigation reveals a number of people who have crossed him before but are terrified to speak out or provide any statement on what they have witnessed or his activities.
Katerina Diamond is certainly an author that doesn’t shirk from horrific details in her thrillers. She is bold with vivid images of violence drawn in many scenes. One scene, in particular, affects one of the detectives and is extremely disturbing. This incident with the physical and psychological repercussions define a significant theme for the majority of the novel. While the narrative was disturbing it was compelling reading and it was a brave call to introduce this aspect to a main character’s background as we will progress through the series. I found myself wishing the incident didn’t happen but recognising that Katerina had totally drawn me into her story and the empathy I’ve developed for her main characters.
The primary focus of the story moved from a police crime investigation to a distressing psychological exploration of the mental turmoil and coming to terms with a violent life-changing assault. I felt the story lost its anchor, unsure what elements were the background and what constituted the main thread. The relationship between Adrian and Imogen took centre stage and provided the context of an unsettling individual crime and the coming to terms within oneself and relationships with those around. The consequence, of course, is that the wider investigative plot lacked her previous depth and twists.
I love everything Katerina writes and would recommend reading this book. I’d like to thank Katerina Diamond, Avon Books UK and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.