Title: The Box Hill Killer (Detective Rob Miller #4)
Author: Biba Pearce
Published on: 21st July 2021
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
The Box Hill Killer is the fourth book in Biba Pearce‘s Detective Rob Miller series.
“The Pentagram Killer, as the press had dubbed person – or persons – had committed four ritualistic murders in the space of one year. The general consensus was he’d been arrested on a different charge or moved overseas. Perhaps the police had got too close, and the killer had decided it was time to run. For all they knew, he could be sipping pina coladas on a Mexican beach right now.”
Twelve years ago, Noah Palmer, an investment banker and father of three went for a bike ride and never came home. The Palmers were friends with Lawrence (currently retired from the police force) and Suzie Palmer, Noah’s wife, called him when she realized her husband’s gone missing. The next morning, Lawrence had a bad news for Suzie. Noah was found dead – the latest victim of the Pentagram Killer.
Fast forward to the present, a sixteen year old girl, Rachel Norton is arrested for shoplifting and her DNA is a familial match to a DNA found on Noah Palmer’s body. Is she related to the Pentagram Killer? The Putney police force is bored of solving burglaries and this new found evidence brings a bout of enthusiasm amongst the team members.
Superintendent Lawrence is now retired and is replaced by Superintendent Hodge. Hodge is a forty-something no nonsense police officer who’s aim is to reduce unnecessary budget in the department. When Rob and team start to investigate, she initially agrees to reopen the case. But when a potential Mayoral candidate is questioned, Hodge clams up and forces Rob’s team to close the investigation.
Rob’s team and Gailbraith’s team worked together in The Bisley Wood Murders. Both teams are involved in solving the Pentagram Killer case now. Gailbraith’s team was following a different line of enquiry and Hodge cannot stop them from investigating the cold case. Rob is adamant on solving the Pentagram Killer case. But this also means he might have to put his career on the line. With Jo (Rob’s girlfriend) expecting their first child, is it worth taking a career risk? Only time will tell…
The story gets murkier with each chapter. A DNA match leads the team to new evidence in a decade-old cold case. Halfway through the story, there’s a twist – this forces the investigators to look at the case from a whole new angle. Top brass might be involved. If so, is it worth the risk to investigate them?
This is yet another fantastic addition to my favorite police procedural series. The spotlight is not only on solving the murders but also on the recurring characters’ personal lives. Jo and Rob caught the Bisley Wood Murderer months ago. Jo investigated the case without telling her boss and this resulted in her being suspended from the police force. At the same time, Jo found she’s expecting her first child and went on a long sabbatical from work. In this book, we see Jo wondering if quitting her job to look after the child might be the right thing to do.
The mystery behind the ritualistic killings gets murkier as more evidence comes into picture. Tony, a profiler and Rob’s best friend, wonders if the murders were the job of a serial killer or something else. The ending is fantastic. The identity of the killer was unexpected. Without giving away any spoilers, I would say Rachel (the young shoplifter) ends up playing a major role in the story – Rob is very supportive of her; he knows she’s intelligent and he wants her to concentrate on studies.
If you love gripping police procedurals with a mind-blowing twist, you might want to add The Box Hill Killer by Biba Pearce to your TBR. Each book in the Detective Rob Miller series can be read as a standalone but if you ask me, I would say start from book #1.
I received an ARC from Joffe Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.