Someone is killing Polish emigrants in Cardiff, Wales, someone with a penchant for cutting their tongues out.
A body is found floating in the River Taff. The victim is a Polish emigrant who had been working in Cardiff for the past two years. Detective Inspector John Marco of the Wales National Police investigates, and discovers there’s far more to this murder than meets the eye.
Speechless is the first of author Stephen Puleston’s DI John Marco series of police procedural novels, set in Cardiff in southern Wales (his first series, with DI Ian Drake, is set in northern Wales). Marco is divorced, the father of a son, living with a new love and has passed his first year of sobriety. He deals with conniving politicians and business bigwigs in Cardiff, and he deals with conniving politicians inside his own police force. He has an overbearing mother and family relations that are guaranteed to cause conflict (and the occasional sucker punch).
Marco and his assistant Detective Sergeant Pierce Boyd are quickly sucked into both the hidden world of emigrants and the ugly underside of what look to be legitimate businesses. Someone is looking for something, possibly a laptop, hidden by the murder victim. Soon there’s another victim. And then Marco almost stumbles into a ring involving underage girls and sex slavery.
Puleston, a native of Wales, trained in law at the University of London, and was an attorney practicing in criminal and family law before turning to writing mysteries. And while his stories are often grim (and often horrific), they’re all about flawed police people doggedly doing their jobs.
Speechless is an absorbing hang-on-because-you-don’t-know-what-will-happen-next kind of story.
Photograph by Irena Jackson via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.