Thursday, September 20, 2018

Dark Tide Rising (William Monk #24), by Anne Perry

Random House/Ballantine Books, ISBN 9780399179914, September 2018

Businessman Harry Exeter comes to Oliver Rathbone, who summons old friend and Thames River Police Commander William Monk, on a nasty, wet, cold evening.

Exeter's wife Kate has been kidnapped. The kidnappers are demanding a large ransom--one he can, with some difficulty, raise. He's ready to pay, in order to get his beloved wife back. Yet it has to be delivered on Jacob's Island, less an island than a slum built on a swamp and sinking into the river. He needs knowledgeable and trustworthy escort to even get to the right spot.

Of course Monk agrees. It's the only think to do. (Even the US was still decades away from the events that led to today's now long-standing Never Pay Ransom policy on the part of law enforcement.) He carefully selects a small team of his most trusted, reliable men, and escorts Exeter when the time comes.

And things go horribly wrong. Kate Exeter is killed, and the money taken. It's a complete disaster, and the only explanation is that one of Monk's trusted men betrayed them.

This is a twisty, complicated story, and Monk, his men, Hester, Rathbone, Runcorn, and everyone around them deals with betrayal and the fear of betrayal. John Hooper is one of the few people Monk has told his dangerous secret: that much of his life is a blank to him, memory lost and never regained after a head injury when he was already a Detective Inspector on the Metropolitan police. Hooper has his own potentially deadly secret past, that he has not shared with Monk in return. Exeter's banker, Mr. Doyle, has social ambitions he can't meet without money he doesn't have. The bank's bookkeeper has noticed odd transfers in Exeter's accounts and in the account of Kate Exeter's inheritance trust, which neither she nor Exeter have access to till she turns thirty-three. Only Mr. Doyle and the trustee, Kate's cousin, Maurice Latham, do. Kate's other surviving cousin, Celia Darwin, has her doubts about both Latham and Exeter.

But Exeter's grief is very convincing, wholly so to Monk, who imagines losing Hester the same way.

It's another very satisfying tale of murder, mystery, and of course courtroom drama. Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.