The newest book by Sophie Hannah concerns itself with obsession and revenge, and consists in large part of enigma piled upon enigma. As one reads the first twenty or thirty pages, one thing seems abundantly clear: Ruth Bussey is one very strange woman. In the opening pages, she and her boss/lover, Aiden, have each decided to share one stunning secret from his/her past with the other, after which no questions will be asked. Ruth's is almost impossible for her to speak about, literally. Their relationship is an odd one, to say the least: although love has been declared, and neither is a virgin, they remain chaste. The one essential, it seems, is that much of what each knows about the other is a lie.
But Ruth's is not the only odd, and chaste, relationship, Sergeant Charlotte "Charlie" Zailer, ex-CID currently working with the Culver Valley Police, and her fiancé DC Simon Waterhouse, both making a return appearance here, being the other. But dysfunctional connections, familial and otherwise, abound in this novel. Charlie's back-story is not gone into in any detail, except that is clear that yet another past relationship nearly ruined her life, and severely damaged her career. Simon's career is here regularly threatened as well.
These characters come together when Ruth seeks out Charlie, to whom she is a stranger, to tell her that Aiden has told her that he has killed a woman, a woman Ruth knows to be quite alive. Beyond that, the salient story lines take a lot of patience on the part of the reader, or it did this one at the least. It takes a couple of hundred pages before any part of the intricate and convoluted plot makes any sense, and another hundred or so before any clarity takes place. There are several twists and turns, and shocking revelations, along the way.