When the naked body of a woman is found near a Lake District church, DI Kelly Porter immediately senses that the killing seemed personal and that the perpetrator had a particular grudge. When another body is found, however, she realises that there is much more to it and that there is a serial killer on her patch. With quotes from the Lakes poets being left with the bodies, the police know that they are dealing with a particularly disturbed individual who must be stopped before the body count continues to rise.

Deep Fear is the second book to feature Kelly Porter, the first being Dark Game. In the first book, we were introduced to Kelly who, after years of working in London, had returned back home to Cumbria. She could have been forgiven for thinking that her job would now be less eventful but, as she soon found out, the Lakes contain their fair share of dubious characters. In Deep Fear, we come across one of the worst sorts – a deranged serial killer who seems keen to mete out their own version of punishment.

This is very much a police procedural and a classic serial killer hunt – something I always enjoy reading. Like many serial killers, this one soon acquires a nickname by the press, in this case, ‘The Teacher’, as they seem to want to teach their victims a lesson. Initially, the victims seem not to be connected but as Kelly digs deeper, a link is found – has she found the right one though or is someone playing an even clever game? One of the things I liked most was that, in order to find her answer, Kelly and her team use a range of techniques, relying not just upon modern forensics, but also using good old-fashioned leg work.

Whereas a lot of the lead detectives in books such as this are very damaged, I find that, although Kelly has her issues, she comes across as a very real character. Her relationship with her family is well-written – it is very easy to imagine the tension caused by the dislike her and her sister share for each other. I also like the way Kelly works – she is a fair boss who still commands respect from the rest of her team.

This is definitely emerging as a series to watch and I look forward to seeing what the Lake District has in store next for Kelly Porter.

With thanks to Canelo and Net Galley for the ARC.

 

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