Ruthless Crimes by Michael Hambling

Ruthless Crimes by Michael Hambling

27th August 2021.

I’ve loved the previous eight books in the series. The characters in the team and their relationships are the backbone of the stories as they investigate some pretty horrific crimes. Sometimes there’s a personal element to the crimes, which only raises the stakes and tension.

In this ninth outing, it takes the team a while to piece together some apparently random killings. First a man stabbed on a train. No past, no information, plenty to interest Detective Superintendent Sophie Allen. Another body with no history is found in a refuge. Then a group of refugees wash up on a beach. With an overcrowded boat and a wicked tide, some end up dead.

And suddenly the team get some traction with their investigations. Rae in particular shines in this story, while Sophie goes across country to London and Oxford as the investigation gathers momentum.

The people trafficking aspect is well portrayed. It’s shown through the eyes of a young refugee and shows the predicament, dangers and difficult choices people on the run face. There’s also the criminal side, where criminals make a fortune from misery.

However, the investigation seems to be scattered all over the place, and I found it difficult to keep track of events and people at times. The climax when it came was a little lacking in tension and action, which meant the story didn’t quite give me the buzz and excitement of previous novels.


A man is found stabbed to death on the Southampton morning commuter train.

But why can’t Detective Sophie Allen’s team find out anything about his history? And why was he staying in a house that seems to be owned by a government security unit?

Then there is another stabbing, this time in a refuge for abused women. And again, Sophie can find very little about the victim’s life.


The Dorset-based detective team discovers duplicity that reaches to the top echelons of government in this twisting tale of treachery, tragedy and hope.

Ruthless Crimes by Michael Hambling

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