Review published on March 4, 2017.
Eva Dolan has once again hit crime gold with the fourth in the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit series, which brings back DI Dushan Zigic and DS Mel Ferreira, Watch Her Disappear. Once again, she is tuned into the pulse of what is happening in society today, with the transgender community being central to the plot, as is how they are not only misunderstood but often excluded from mainstream society.
Zigic and Ferreira are in the midst of an investigation into a serial rapist when they are called to a murder scene where the Hate Crimes Unit is required. Arriving at the scene to find everyone from CID present, including DCI Adams, they wonder why they are required to attend the murder of a female jogger. They are soon informed that that the victim, Corrine, was a transgender woman, born Colin Sawyer, who was in the process of transitioning; hence, CID consider her murder to be a hate crime.
Their investigation shows, through police records and interviews with members of the local transgender support group, the Trans Sisters, that there have been a number of violent attacks on transwomen, including rape. But as the investigation continues, the prime suspect appears to be made of Teflon, since even though he is not afraid to abuse his girlfriend both physically and mentally, he always has an alibi at the ready.
Zigic and Ferreira are also aware that the Sawyer family is not telling them the whole story and may even be hiding the key to the investigation. At the same time, they are under pressure from the trans community, who do not think they are taking the concerns of their community serious enough. Additionally, that all too common modern phenomenon, internet trolls, are also making themselves felt online. But the biggest obstacle will always be people who are not willing to expose themselves as transgender, especially if they are not out.
Once again, this a brilliantly paced thriller that grips you throughout. One of the great things about Eva Dolan is that she can tackle a sensitive subject without preaching to the reader. One of her biggest fans is Ian Rankin and you cannot argue with his description of her as a ‘top drawer’ crime writer, since everything in this book backs that up.
As with her previous books, Eva Dolan manages to make the story hard hitting, tragic and contemporary, while writing with authority. Any reader will be enthralled and heartbroken at the same time, and she certainly knows how to write a whodunit and keep you gripped throughout. This is another brilliant book from Eva Dolan and I look forward to the next outing of the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit.
Paul Diggett 5/5
Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan
Harvill Secker 9781910701027 hbk Jan 2017