Hilary Bonner

Deadly Dance

"This is a raw, and in some places, sexually explicit book..."


The body of fourteen year-old Melanie Cooke, bruised and strangled, is found in Bristol's red-light district. She had told her mum she was going to meet a school friend, but the clothes she chose tells a different story. DI Vogel is put in charge of the investigation, aided by DS John Willis and DC Dawn Saslow. The prime suspect is Melanie's father, and he is arrested when his DNA is discovered beneath her fingernails.

But Vogel is uneasy. It is all too simple. Why would a man who obviously doted on his daughter murder her? And why was she inappropriately dressed in a red light district in the first place? Then three other suspects emerge, simply called Saul, Leo and Al. As Vogel digs deeper about them, more questions keep cropping up. Are the three suspects all that they seem? Who exactly are they? And most importantly, which one, if any, is the most likely to have carried out the murder?

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This is a raw, and in some places, sexually explicit book, highly charged and with emotional depth. The chapters dedicated to the team's investigations are interrupted throughout the book by chapters dedicated to the thoughts and deeds of three men - Saul, who has problems connecting with women, Leo, who is gay, and Al, a paedophile. It soon becomes apparent that one of them may be the murderer, though nothing is given away until the end. One of the book's strengths is the refreshing fact that Vogel is not your run-of-the-mill crime yarn detective - one with a drink problem, troubles at home, or a messy divorce. He is a happily married teetotaller with a young daughter, though there is a subplot which revolves round a personal letter he receives during the investigations - a letter he shares with his wife Mary. The contents come as a surprise to him, but they won't alter the course of his life to any great extent.

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