The dead sit round in a ring
This is a first novel. At least Lawrence´s first mystery, as far as the cover says. Like in McBain´s precinct stories a police station in Notting Hill/ London is in the centre of the action, here with DS Stella Mooney as detective.
Lawrence creates a very lively, convincing character with a lot of potential for serial development. Her love life is in difficulties with her live-in boyfriend of five years, George, on the one hand, and Delaney, a journalist she meets through her work, on the other. Of course, at the end of the story, she still hasn´t come to a decision, how convenient for the next Mooney mystery!
The plot is so complex and weird, that this reader here, at least, has problems following it. Lawrence parades a baroque variety of characters and crimes and seems to have studied the London crime scene thoroughly, with special interest in the modern slave trade and Serbian war criminals. That doesn´t make pleasant reading: London is described as a city lost in crime and atrocities. And Mooney can´t really stop crime, is rather helpless, more a victim than the heroine.
Patricia Cornwell´s view of crime and criminals comes to mind.