Responding to a domestic disturbance call, two Yorkshire police officers stumble into a killer's lair. One ends up dead, the other, Janet Taylor, finds herself facing possible murder charges. Detective Superintendent Alan Banks arrives at a scene of bloody carnage to find his serial murder case solved.
The horrific, atmospheric opening scenes of Edgar award-winner Peter Robinson's "Aftermath," set up the whole story - the themes of abuse and psychological damage, police accountability and politics and a host of nagging questions. How does a handsome, popular teacher like Terry Payne end up as serial killer of young girls and how did he lure them so easily? What did his beautiful, abused wife, Lucy, know about the atrocities in the basement of her own house?
The lines of the murder mystery interweave with the private lives of Banks and his team. Banks struggles with the news that his ex-wife is pregnant while Banks' on-again, off-again girlfriend, the ambitious Annie Cabot, is assigned to investigate Janet Taylor's culpability in the death of the serial killer and troubled psychologist Jenny Fuller profiles Lucy Payne, rekindling her attraction to Banks. Another victim of abuse, a neighbor, desperate to help Lucy, uses and is used by the media, garnering possibly dangerous attention. Meanwhile, one of the missing girls is not found in Payne's macabre basement graveyard.
Robinson draws the reader with his superb characterizations and thoughtful pacing. As always, his novel is as much about the world we live in - everyday realities and aberrant fringes - as it is about a particular murder. The tension builds to an explosive climax of split-second timing but the more leisurely twists, turns and missteps of the investigation and the investigators create a human drama that lingers in the mind.