Dead List is the third book in Helen Durrant‘s Calladine and Bayliss Police Procedural series.
Tom Calladine has recovered from the bullet wound inflicted by his cousin (and gangster) Ray Fallon. Lydia, a news reporter and Tom’s current girlfriend is looking after him. Meanwhile, a serial killer is on prowl in Leesdon. First, an Asian doctor is found murdered in his house. Next, an old man, a notorious ex-drug dealer, is found burned to death in a park. The killer leaves a tarot card on the dead body. It looks like someone has a nasty bucket list… a bucket list of murders.
Another fantastic addition to the series. I have been binge reading this series and I have to say, this one’s completely addictive. A tad on the gory side but completely engrossing!
As was the case in the first two books, DI Calladine and DS Bayliss have two mysteries to solve. Calladine is on a break and Ruth Bayliss is visiting him when Rocco (a fellow officer) arrives at Calladine’s home, asking Bayliss to join him on a case. Calladine is bored of sitting at home and joins the group and officially takes over the case the next day. A doctor is found murdered in his house. A Tarot card is pinned on his forehead. Meanwhile, two little girls have gone missing – kidnapped on their first day of school.
Calladine’s boss Jones is gone and is replaced by Long; Long and Calladine have worked together before. Detective Thorpe is assigned to the case of missing girls but he hardly seems to be doing anything about it. Since one of the girls was from a different town, the local police of that town have taken charge of the case – there’s a new DI in town and Calladine is not happy with the way he’s ordering fellow officers around.
In the previous book, Calladine learned a secret about his mother. His father had an affair with a woman and Calladine was the result of that affair. Tom Calladine was brought home by his dad and Freda looked after him like he were her own child. Calladine was shot soon after discovering this news and did not want to act on it for now… or ever. Ruth investigates further and finds out more about Tom’s biological mother.
Tom Calladine isn’t your usual detective. He might be good at solving cases but when it comes to love and relationships, he fails miserably. Lydia looked after him when he was injured but there is trouble in paradise. She wants him to help her interview Ray Fallon – and he refuses every single time, causing a rift between the lovers.
The mystery behind the murders kept me on the edge of my seat. The story alternates between the killer’s plan and the detectives solving the case. Side stories of the characters add an extra dash of mystery to the series (Tom’s past, for example). The identity of the killer is no secret but the events leading up to the detectives catching the perp is mind-blowing. Also, Tom seems to have found a nemesis in DI Greco. I wonder how things are going to work out in the future, especially if there is a ‘contest-of-sorts’ between Tom and Greco for the DCI post.
If you love gritty and gripping police procedurals, you might want to give Dead List a try. I am so addicted to the series, I highly recommend you to read them all! Absolutely fantastic series!