Anna Travis, who recently upped her rank to detective sergeant, arrived at her fourth murder investigation a much wiser and stronger member of the murder team than her first case as a rookie in Above Suspicion.
The current case is headed up by Detective Chief Inspector Glen Morgan and his team. They are investigating the brutal murder of a young woman found on the banks of the Thames, a murder that shocks even the most hardened investigator. The body was horribly mutilated, cut in half, and drained of blood. What struck police the most was the obvious copy of the infamous Black Dahlia murder many years before in Los Angeles.
When the victim is identified, a photograph of her in a red sequined mini-dress with a red rose stuck in her hair appears in the paper. The similarities in this case and the previous case cause journalists to dub her The Red Dahlia, never mind that she actually had a rose in her hair.
Anna had not seen DCI James Langton since the end of her first case. He unexpectedly became involved in her current investigation when DCI Morgan had to drop out due to illness.
With the entrance of Langton flanked by the ever-present DC Mike Lewis and DC John Barolli, his top aids, the stalled investigation took on a new energy.
As the case progressed, the perpetrator was obviously mimicking the 1940ís case while stringing the police along and creating media frenzy. DI Travis must hurry to find the copycat killer before he strikes again.
With The Red Dahlia, Lynda La Plante has written another top-notch procedural. Her attention to detail draws the reader into the horror of the murder, and the tension and frustration experienced by the Murder Squad as they search diligently for the murderer before more bodies appear.
The romantic tension between Langton and Anna add plenty of spice into the mix. When they both appear with other partners, the tension and interplay between them shows there are feelings neither want to address. Their relationship or lack thereof, adds to the flavor of the murder investigation.
Fans of Above Suspicion will find new characters as well as the familiar. The story is fresh and the ending as disturbing as it is intriguing. Above all, readers who enjoy this Anna Travis installment will certainly look forward to her next case. Here is hoping that Anna has a long and distinguished career.