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The latest Ben Cooper/Diane Fry investigation to reach US shores continues the high quality we expect from Booth. The police department in Britain's Peak District where the two cops work has received some taped messages describing a eerie fascination with death, and a prediction of a coming murder. At about the same time, the remains of a human body are found near a hiking trail in the area. A forensic artist prepares a sculpture to demonstrate what the woman might have looked like before her death, and the police receive the disconcerting information that family members recognize her, but she died of natural causes and her body was cremated!
Drawing on real life instances of mismanagement and exploitation at funeral homes and crematoriums in various locations worldwide, Booth sends his two protagonists searching for "The Dead Place" described in the strange messages, and seeking for a connection between the discovery of the human remains and the author of the tapes.
A former professor volunteers his expertise in understanding a morbid fascination with death, while the staff of a local funeral home is less than helpful with the investigators. The eventual solution turns on long standing abuse and cruelty as well as a misguided attempt to preserve a business reputation at all costs.
As with all other books in this series, Booth delivers an engrossing read. It's great to have him published in the US again!