Blood on the Tongue

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9780743457835: Blood on the Tongue

In a bizarre suicide, a woman has been found curled into a fetal position and frozen to death in the bleak English Peak District, yet her body is badly bruised. This discovery brings the tally of suspicious deaths to three. Detective Sergeant Diane Fry has come up empty-handed in her investigation of the body found in the wreckage of a World War II bomber, and the unidentified man crushed by a snowplow. Meanwhile, Detective Constable Ben Cooper is following a cold trail of his own, trying to uncover a long-buried conspiracy involving Fry's burned-out bomber -- whose lone survivor vanished with a small fortune that wasn't his. As Fry and Cooper pursue their respective cases, they also struggle to work together. Where there once was attraction, there now is a growing distrust -- one that must be overcome if they are to stop the white winter moors from running red with blood.

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Review:

The weather is cold and the clues no warmer as Peak District detectives Ben Cooper and Diane Fry tackle a medley of mysteries--each one knottier than the last--in English author Stephen Booth's haunting third novel, Blood on the Tongue. The unidentified body of a dead man has turned up on a frosty roadside. An abused woman is found curled in the snow on nearby Irontongue Hill, an apparent suicide. And there's the lingering puzzle of a Royal Air Force bomber that crashed into Irontongue back in 1945, killing everyone on board except for the pilot, who reportedly walked away from the wreckage... and was never heard from again. With leave and sickness decimating the ranks of the Edendale police force, all hands are needed to solve the modern deaths. But constable Cooper finds himself distracted by the World War II tragedy, in large part because of a beguiling young Canadian, the granddaughter of that missing pilot, who's come to Edendale determined to clear her ancestor's name.

Not surprisingly, these various cases eventually intertwine. But how they're linked by time and tragedy provides the intrigue here. Equally involving is the prickly alliance between Cooper, the "too bloody nice" local lad, and his superior, the emotionally guarded outsider, Fry. Plotted for maximum psychological suspense, teeming with singular secondary characters, and capitalizing on Britain's still-poignant memories of the last world war, Blood on the Tongue is an ambitious and remarkably mature work that delivers on the promise Booth showed in his first novel, Black Dog. --J. Kingston Pierce

From the Back Cover:

Stephen Booth returns with an evocative mystery perfect for fans of Ian Rankin and Peter Robinson.

It's a new year for Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, and that means new mysteries to solve in the icy depths of a bitter winter.

It isn't the easiest way to commit suicide, but the dead woman seems to have simply curled up in the freezing snow and lain there until her heart stopped. There was no one to observe her death but the foxes and the hares. Yet she is riddled with bruises. Her demise is horrifying. Is it also suspicious?

When two more bodies are found, Cooper and Fry begin to wonder whether these tragedies are connected—and whether they will survive the winter . . .

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