When the body of a man is discovered in woodlands outside Manchester, a ten-year missing-persons investigation can finally be filed away. But this was no ordinary death: gagged, bound and buried alive, he was the victim of a sophisticated and sadistic killer. And there is something else that has the National Crime Agency puzzled. A single character carved into a nearby tree.
Introducing Detective Chief Inspector Tom Caton. Christmas approaches. A killer dressed as a clown haunts the streets of Manchester. For him the City’s miraculous regeneration had unacceptable consequences. This is the reckoning. DCI Tom Caton enlists the help of forensic profiler Kate Webb, placing her in mortal danger.
The body of a young man is discovered in a terraced house in East Manchester. DCI Tom Caton is drawn inexorably into the dark side of the Internet, where nothing is as it seems and where there lurks a threat to his own happiness - and that of those closest to him. In two weeks, Tom and profiler Kate Webb are due to tie the knot. It's an appointment that she fears he may never keep.
Roger Standing, commander of the British Empire and the prime minister's special adviser for education, is murdered. DCI Tom Caton is not short of suspects. But if this is a simple mugging gone wrong then why has MI5 ransacked his apartment, and why is Special Branch disrupting the investigation? And why are the widow and her son taking the news so calmly? Roger Standing was not what he seemed...and something is rotten in the corridors of power. Will the killer strike again?
A violent attacker is on the loose. His calling card: a tattoo on his victims' skin. With no witnesses and no evidence left at the crime scenes, it will take all of the National Crime Agency's resources to track him down. At the head of the investigation, codenamed Operation Juniper, Senior Investigator Joanne Stuart knows that the clock is ticking. The time between abductions is decreasing and the perpetrator grows ever more brazen. She fears it won't be long before his assaults turn deadly.