You’d know if someone close to you was capable of lethal violence, right? Dead wrong. Accused of grassing up a fellow officer and driven brutally out of home and job, Grace Fisher is thankful to survive some dark times and find haven with the Major Investigation Team in Essex. One female student is missing, last seen at a popular bar in Colchester. When a second student, also out drinking, is murdered and left grotesquely posed, the case becomes headline news.
Who can you turn to if not the police? Essex, Christmas Day. As the residents of a small town enjoy their mince pies, shots ring out in the street. Five people are gunned down before the lone shooter turns his weapon on himself. Grace Fisher, now Detective Inspector, is tasked with making some sense of this atrocity - all the more sensitive because the first of the victims was one of their own: a police officer.
Recently divorced, Tessa Parker runs a successful B&B in a seaside town. During a surprise visit from Australia, a long-lost aunt lets slip a family secret that unsettles her fragile world.In shock, and feeling betrayed by her whole family, Tessa confides in her ex-husband just as he reveals he has a new woman in his life. Struck unexpectedly by jealousy; balancing her own turmoil against the demands of parenting, Tessa tries to trace her birth father, with devastating results. Yet she fails to see how this is a crucial moment in her children's lives.