Caz Frear’s Shed No Tears starts with a wikipedia infobox relating to a serial killer. This is a clever and very current way to start a mystery novel, and all the more appreciated for it. Furthermore, the material in this info box is entirely relevant to the novel without revealing too much to those who prefer to solve a mystery along with the detective.
As the story begins our lead, DCI Cat Kinsella, is coming up to deal with a long dead body that had been found on an abandoned farm. It takes very little time for her and the other attending police to realize they have something of an interesting case on their hands, due to the fact she is identified as one Holly Kemp, final victim of serial killer Christopher Masters. The body was not found, but an excellent witness confirmed seeing them together as the last time anyone saw Holly anywhere. Yet the facts don’t add up. Masters strangled the other victims, this girl was shot in the head. Masters stripped the other victims, Holly still has bits of her decaying clothes on. On top of those, the body was a hundred miles off from Masters’ usual dumping grounds.
So Cat has to look into the case, find out what accounts for the descrepencies. A partner? Escalating brutality? An entirely different killer? While Cat has personal and professional issues connecting her to the case she cannot help but come back, time and again, to the simple fact that the previous officers who covered the Marsters killings were considered among the best. How does one go up against that kind of reputation and not feel intimidated?
This is the third in the Cat Kinsella series, and the world and characters definitely feel developed to a degree. Cat has a father who was big into organised crime, a sister who hates her, a brother in a Spanish prison, a boyfriend who is the relative of a victim in a past case, and more. While the setting feels lived in, itis not hard for a new reader to penetrate. As someone who has experienced far more than the average amount of British entertainment by American standards the use of drunk driving as opposed to drink driving at one point seemed rather strange, however americanisms have slipped into British slang readily.
The question of police corruption is addressed in this volume, partly in terms of a lead who sees herself as comprimised. It is an interesting decision, but at best a b-plot in regards to cat for much of the book, seeming to more influence backstory than anything else. This changes slightly later, and is appreciated by a reader who enjoys the occasional question raised about the police, though it doesn’t rise high enough to be a major theme even when it is given importance.
There is a lovely, long set of acknowledgements given immediately after the text, which are appreciated if not exceptionally illuminating about any creative decisions. Still, it is good to know those whom helped shape a solid entry in a young series.
Overall Shed No Tears is a very enjoyable read dealing with a number of Interestiby figures, and the problem of reopening a once closed case. The character of Cat Kinsella gets more than a little development, and is presented with a number of options relating to her future. This volume is a good swift volume to pick up if you are just starting out with the series, or as a new entry in it.