‘Bleak, written with rare economy and moving clarity, Embracing Skeletons is not for the weak of stomach or the faint of heart. It will haunt me for a long time to come’ Val McDermid
The body of a child – part incinerated, half starved – found on Marston Moor shocks even the hard-bitten detectives of York CID. But for Carmen Pharoah, fresh from London and struggling to make her mark, this could offer an opportunity for some real detective work – as long as she doesn’t get sidelined by her taciturn boss Leif Vossian. Vossian himself has a personal stake in the murder, for it brings back an appalling tragedy in his own past.
Disturbing currents underlie the investigation from the start. An eyewitness offers solid evidence as to who dumped the body, but information from other sources points to the existence of more widespread evil than the murder of a single child. A young burglar, a convicted pornographer, a schizophrenic – all appear to be involved, but in what? Vossian and his team are faced with an almost impossible task, one given an added edge when the suspicion arises that there is a traitor in their midst…
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What if the worst things you can imagine were true? Peter Turnbull's gritty police procedural thrillers stretch the formula to its limits. His honest, hard-working coppers increasingly find themselves in situations as fresh as headlines and as hard to live with. York CID--a group of young detectives with problems of their own; knowledgeable older hands; a pig-keeping pathologist on the brink of burning out--find themselves dealing with the unthinkable. A child has been found burning on the moors, with a stomach full of excrement and insects and all the stigmata of Satanic abuse; children from an incestuous problem family are horribly knowing. A schizophrenic woman, and the local witches, are certain that they know what is going on, but the police know they have also to prove it.
This is a powerful and upsetting thriller. Turnbull expertly depicts the technicalities of autopsy and other forensic procedures, but he knows that police work is about more than these. He is good on the legwork, the interviews, the process of persuading witnesses to tell everything they know and remember what they have forgotten; he is also good on the guilt policemen feel every time they fail to protect someone. --Roz KaveneyReview:
‘Far from traditional crime fare. Nerve yourself to read it.’
‘I can think of no other writer who so vividly captures the atmosphere of hopeless urban menace’
‘Few can rival Turnbull for dire authenticity’
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Book Description HarperCollins, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110006499139