Dead Lost is the fourth book in Helen H. Durrant‘s Calladine and Bayliss Police Procedural series.
A group of homeless people have set up camp in the grounds of a disused cotton mill belonging to a local businessman Damien Chase. One of the homeless goes missing and a bloody coat is found in a bin the next day. The caretaker of the homeless receives a box containing three small bones. Soon, two other women at the camp receive similar packages.
DS Ruth Bayliss is expecting her first child with her partner Jack. DI Thomas Calladine and his new lover Amy are getting along well. Also, it’s been months since Tom spoke to his biological mother for the first time. Acting DCI Long is relieved and there’s a new DCI in town. She’s nicknamed ‘the hatchet queen’. She tries to break Calladine’s team – Rocco and Imogen are offered to move to different stations on the promise of superfast career growth. Will these disrupts create problems for Bayliss and Calladine? Only time will tell…
Dead Lost is another fantastic addition to this series. It goes without saying Helen Durrant is a master storyteller. Excellent writing and character development. The suspense is sure to keep the reader hooked on to the story till the end.
In the previous book – Dead List – we learned Ruth was pregnant, Tom and Lydia broke up, Tom found love again in Amy (she also happens to be assistant forensic scientist Julian’s aunt) and Tom finally met his biological mother Eve Walker. In Dead Lost, we see Tom trying to avoid the topic of Eve Walker – he never spoke to her since their first meet. She comes over to his place and invites him for a get-together. It is her daughter’s birthday (Tom’s step-sister) and she wants the whole family present at the party. Tom agrees and invites Amy as his plus-one. At the party, Tom learns the current commissioner of police is Eve’s brother – which also makes him Tom’s uncle. Rhona Birch, the new DCI at the station is also present at the party and she’s shocked to learn Tom and the commissioner are related.
The story starts with the murder of a homeless man. There are three point-of-views in this story: 1) serial killer 2)detectives Calladine and Ruth 3)a young girl who’s held captive by her abuser. The detectives are called in when a group of young lads find a bloody coat in a bin. No body parts are found anywhere close by. The caretaker of the homeless people receives a parcel containing three bones. She consults the semi-retired forensic pathologist who in turn informs Calladine of this discovery.
The disused cotton mill is guarded by security personnel. The owner says it is to prevent the homeless from getting into the building. On the home front, Tom is bombarded with ‘comments’ by DCI Birch. She also knows of Calladine’s relation with the notorious gangster Ray Fallon. She and the commissioner want Tom Calladine to go on a break until Ray’s court proceedings are over but Tom refuses the offer. Speaking of Fallon, there is a huge development halfway through and as the story ends, there is a significant progress in this matter.
We also have some shocking developments relating to Tom’s love life. Lydia, Tom’s ex-girlfriend, is back – but not in a good way. Tom is forced to make a decision that puts him at risk – he has no other option though. Ruth is in her third trimester as the story ends and will go on leave soon. The detectives have two cases to solve – the case of a missing teenager and missing homeless people. Both cases seem to be connected to the grounds where the cotton mills are located.
I had mentioned in my previous reviews this series is not for the faint-hearted. The gory details and violence is a tad less in this story. Also, the spotlight is on Tom’s personal life – the poor chap has his hands full with all the unexpected ‘relations’ and whatnots.
The mystery behind the murders and the missing teenager is well-maintained throughout the story. I never saw the twists coming – completely mind-blowing! We also get to see Tom Calladine in a new avatar(master of disguises or so it seems…).
If you love gritty police procedurals, you might want to give this series a try. You can read this book as a standalone but I recommend you to start from the beginning so that you don’t miss out on all the good stuff.