An apparent suicide in an exclusive London hotel soon has alarm bells ringing for Detective Dan Riley, his fears being realized when pathology reveals that the victim, a wealthy banker, was poisoned. Finding a link between the murdered man and a woman calling herself ‘Goldilocks’ on an online dating site, Dan is soon on the hunt for a serial killer as another victim is found – this time a woman. Daddy Bear… Mummy Bear… Can Dan put an end to the killings before the next victim, Baby Bear is found?

I was drawn in right from the very start of the book where we are thrown straight into what is to become the first crime scene. The killer, ‘Goldilocks’ is a strange character, though, as although she took great care to make it look like suicide, she made enough mistakes for anyone with a trained eye to realize that it was definitely a case of murder. This made me wonder what her motives were and whether she actually wanted to be caught. This seemed to be confirmed with her choice of second victim – a woman who, with some detective work, could be traced back to her. The killer was a very complex character and, although her crimes were truly heinous, her back story was incredibly harrowing and there was definitely sympathy shown towards her childhood plight.

The first book in a series is always a difficult one for a detective as we are not only introduced to their investigation and professional life, but we also need to get a handle on their personal life and what makes them tick. Like many other fictional detectives, Dan is a flawed character after losing his girlfriend in a crash a few years previously. Never fully getting over his loss, it has taken him all this time to entertain the thought of dating again and it is through this that he meets the aforementioned ‘Goldilocks’, albeit in a different guise. This was a good way of introducing us to the main protagonist, providing an insight into his state of mind. Hopefully, in future books, he will stay away from online dating though!

The crimes are quite descriptive and show how messed up ‘Goldilocks’ is. As the book description mentions ‘Baby Bear’ it is not a spoiler to say that, as you are reading, you know that it is building up to her wanting to kill a child. This provided me with a sense of unease as I willed Dan to work out exactly what was going on before it actually occurred. I found that I raced through the second half of the book, desperate to know how it would end.

In recent years, I have been introduced to some great police procedural/detective books by Bookouture, with authors such as Angela Marsons, Robert Bryndza and Patricia Gibney becoming firm favourites. In Anna-Lou Weatherley and her detective, Dan Riley, I think they have another hit on their hands and I look forward to reading book 2!

With thanks to Net Galley and Bookouture for the ARC.