HQ has ruled that Chief Inspector Aliette Nouvelle's failure to carry her gun directly contributed to the messy conclusion of a major murder case she'd led the previous summer. Her career now depends on a drastic about-face. Aliette has been ordered to come into the city to practice at the Beziers police shooting range and attend counselling sessions two nights a week with psychologist Gabrielle Gravel. For Aliette, this is not only humiliating, it's inconvenient. Beziers is a 40-kilometre drive from her home base in Saint-Brin, a sleepy wine town in the south of France. But she will required to attend until she can prove she is prepared to use deadly force in the execution of her duties.
Meanwhile, a killing spree is taking place in Beziers. After the first savage knifing of a homeless young man, a deranged street person is suspected. But the working theory changes when victim number three turns out to be PJ Inspector Pierre Tropéano. A knife is left in his gut, and his gun is gone. It will be used to kill the next victim, another homeless young person.
As she navigates Beziers' night streets, trying to come to terms with the SIG Sauer SP2022 in her holster and how it affects her core identity, Inspector Nouvelle finds clues to the whereabouts of Tropéano's gun -- and a killer. Aliette's unofficial, off-duty investigation is motivated by a need to defend her beleaguered colleague, Chief Inspector Nabi Zidane, head of the city-based Police Judiciare force. But the killings in the city are not her business. One false step and she could lose her job. Or her life. Is she ready to use her gun?
About the Author
John Brooke became fascinated by criminality and police work listening to the courtroom stories and observations of his father, a long-serving judge. Although he lives in Montreal, John makes frequent trips to France for both pleasure and research. He earns a living as a freelance writer and translator, and has also worked as a film and video editor as well as directed four films on modern dance. His poetry and short stories have been widely published and in 1998 his story "The Finer Points of Apples" won him the Journey Prize. Brooke's first Inspector Aliette Nouvelle mystery, The Voice of Aliette Nouvelle, was published in 1999, followed by All Pure Souls in 2001. He took a break from Aliette with the publication of his novel Last Days of Montreal in 2004, but returned with her in 2011 with Stifling Folds of Love, The Unknown Masterpiece in 2012, and Walls of a Mind in 2013, which was shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Best Crime Novel Award.