The first book in a new legal mystery series featuring feisty Bristol based barrister Alison Hope, Dead Fish starts as an apparently conventional crime story but gradually evolves into a tough and menacing psychological thriller.
Dr Geoffrey Quinn arrives home in the middle of the night to find his children missing, the charred remains of his wife’s body chopped up in the boiler and Chief Superintendent Manning waiting to arrest him for her murder.
Enter Alison Hope, small, attractive, determined: a barrister specialising in crime. Quinn claims he is innocent but Alison, hired to defend him, is not so sure. When her lover, eccentric private investigator George Kristianssen reveals Quinn was the man who identified villain Simon Boniface as the killer in a gangland murder trial – since when the arresting detective, the QC and the judge have all met with violent deaths – Alison wonders why her client did not tell her this himself.
The background becomes increasingly murky as Alison penetrates a wealthy and ruthless circle who all risk grave charges and social ruin if their secrets – exploitative sexual gratification, raves, drugs, blackmail, illegal arms dealing, major fraud – come to light. Underlying it all is the inexorable deadline of Quinn’s trial. Can Alison unravel the mystery in time to save him? It seems she hasn’t a hope in hell. “Then give it up,” says George, “go with the flow.” But Alison is determined. “Only dead fish go with the flow.”