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Saturday, 21 March 2020

‘Perfect Kill’ by Helen Fields


Published by Avon,
6 February 2020. 
ISBN 978-0-00-827524-2 (PB)

Two fast moving investigations into what can only be described as totally horrific and barbaric crimes become intertwined in Helen Field’s Perfect Kill.

DCI Ava Turner is already investigating the disappearance of Malcolm Reilly, a young Scottish lad from Glasgow, when his body turns up at a postmortem in France attended by DI Luc Callanach.  Luc is in France acting as Scottish liaison officer to Interpol.  He is working with an old friend and colleague, John-Paul, helping to trace human traffickers who are moving women from Eastern Europe to the West. 

It becomes apparent that the movement of people is a two-way operation.  Containers bringing trafficked women to Scotland return to France carrying healthy youngsters who have been kidnapped in Glasgow. It is easy to guess the fate of the young women, but the use for the healthy youngsters – we follow three of them – is not so easy to uncover.  There are clues. Malcolm Reilly’s body has been carefully vandalized.  Organs have been removed. Why? Mining organs for use in illegal transplants would be bad enough, but this is far worse because nobody wins, not the recipients of the organs and most certainly not the donors. Only the criminals gain. Luc does discover the ultimate fate of the organs and their unfortunate owners though not before he is nearly killed in the process.

Ava gets a break after Elenuta, a brave and beautiful Rumanian girl who has been kept prisoner and forced to work as a prostitute escapes. She is recaptured but discovers an even darker side to the uses the girls are put to - you really don’t want to know unless you thrive on violent thrillers – and manages to help the police.

For me the strengths of this book, and there are many, lie in the humanity of its characters. The uneasy relationship between Ava and Luc who love, but no longer trust, each other is skillfully portrayed. As is Luc’s relationship with Jean-Paul that is also suffering from a breakdown in trust.  There also is a heartwarming sub story involving a couple of very young Syrian refugees, a young boy who is trying to look after his hungry little sister. Luc helps them and tries to ensure the authorities won’t separate them. Finally, there is the love of Ava and Luc for Natasha.  She has breast cancer and wants Luc and Ava to come and live with her whilst she works her way through it. One might accuse Natasha of having an ulterior motive in bringing her two best friends together in her house, and one might just be right.

Perfect kill is a perfect read for those who can cope with/enjoy horror and violence.  Those who can't should be aware that Helen Field’s writing makes for compulsive reading. It will draw you in whether you like it or not.
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Reviewer: Angela Crowther

Helen Fields, a former barrister, now writes a Scottish set crime series - D.I.Callanach and D.I. Ava Turner. Her debut novel Perfect Remains and the second in the series Perfect Prey are Amazon best sellers. Perfect Crime is her fifth book. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, and lives with her husband and three children.
Twitter @Helen_Fields

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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