I just finished DARKSIDE, another psychological thriller by Belinda Bauer. Located in the same rural English countryside as BLACKLANDS, this novel takes place a few years later and the main character is an all-in-one country constable, Jonas Holly. His territory includes several small villages along Exmoor.
When an elderly lady is murdered in her sleep, a big city team is assigned and Holly is treated like less than an underling by DCI Marvel. Before many clues can be found, another murder occurs, and Holly puts himself on night duty to keep an eye out for the killer.
Holly’s wife, Lucy, is in the final stages of multiple sclerosis, barely able to move and in a lot of pain, and his concern for her overwhelms him. But when three more elderly people in a nursing home are killed in one night, Holly has to leave Lucy alone again and more vulnerable than ever. The killer, it seems, is targeting those who are burdens on their families.
Marvel, spiteful, incompetent, and a drinker, and his three assistants are staying in foul lodgings, an ill-converted stables, until they have arrested someone or given up. However, they are likely to be there forever as the bodies keep piling up. They do not have much success in finding clues, but that does not stop them from hauling in unlikely suspects anyway.
Again, Bauer presents the reader with a very plausible plot and some underlying terror. It makes you think that if the sun would just shine more, life would be less dangerous in that little town. However, it is the dead of winter.