Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
A severed hand is discovered in the centre of Manchester and the only clue Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel has to go on is CCTV footage of a woman in a long black robe placing it carefully on the ground.
With a growing missing persons list and frantic families wondering if the body part could belong to their absent loved ones, Jessica must solve the case fast.
When a second hand is found and a local politician’s wife goes missing, Jessica is left struggling to find out who the appendages belong to. The mother of missing Lewis Barnes, is convinced his girlfriend, twenty-six year-old January Forrester is responsible, but something doesn’t add up. Who is the mysterious woman in black and how is she connected to the abandoned body parts?
Then, unnervingly, a detached finger arrives in the post for Jessica – and it’s clear that someone knows exactly who she is.
This is book three in Wilkinson’s Jessica Daniel series and though I struggled a bit with book two, I’m happy to report that I was more happily satisfied with this one! Book two left me feeling underwhelmed, mostly because things seemed a bit too far fetched to be entirely believable. The Woman in Black restored my hope in the series and has me waiting impatiently for the release of book four.
Jess is assigned to a whopper of a case this time. A severed hand is found in the middle of the city and it’s clear that whoever left it there wanted it to be found. Before long, another hand is found and then Jess receives a finger in the mail. Why is it that body parts being found instead of a entire body is so much creepier?! I think for me it’s because I was constantly wondering if the victims were just maimed or were they murdered? What do these random hands have in common? A link seems to be non existent (forget about a motive!)which makes answering the sobering question, who will be next, all the more difficult to answer.
Jess is still the same woman I’ve grown to really like, but she is starting to show some maturity and growth. She still doesn’t always think before she speaks and tends to put her foot in her mouth at the most inopportune moments. I can’t help but love her for it, I like when characters are flawed and raw. The banter between her and Dave is fantastic and their rapport just keeps getting better. A new detective joins the team, Izzy, and I really warmed to her right off. It was nice to see Jess making a female friend and their budding relationship is one I’ll be looking forward to seeing develop further.
This was a wildly entertaining and compulsive read that I finished within a few hours. The plot was unpredictable with plenty of false starts and dead ends to keep the reader and Jess and team on their toes. If this series continues to get better with each book then I’m in for a real treat.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to Bookouture for my review copy.