There are two aspects to Sophie Hannah’s Spilling CID series. First, the murder (or whatever crime, but mostly it’s a murder) that occurs in each novel. These crimes are intricately plotted (I have literally never figured one out 100% ahead of time, and I read a lot of books like this), usually with cases of mistaken identities and lots of secrecy. Each book is narrated in first person by someone close to the plot. The second aspect to these series is the relationship between Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse, and other members in and around their squad. At this point in the series, Zailer & Waterhouse are maintaining their very strange marriage, with the main change being that they no longer work together. Oh, and Zailer’s (engaged) sister continues her affair with one of Waterhouse’s (married) colleagues.
As I read more and more of these books, I find that I still love the main plot — the duplicitous characters, the unreliable narrators — but I become increasingly irritated by Zailer & Waterhouse. This particular book deals with the death of a woman named Francine, an evil bitch who had a stroke several years ago. Francine’s husband, Tim, has taken the blame for her murder, but Tim’s ex-friend/lover, Gaby, remains convinced that he’s innocent and sets out to prove it (and win him back). The resolution to this one was a little weaker than in other Hannah books, in my opinion, but nonetheless surprising and the road there was quite good.
Then there’s Zailer & Waterhouse — nothing ever changes with them. Waterhouse is still his uncommunicative self, wracked with intimacy and trust issues (not that they’re not justified, but still!). Zailer’s trying to figure out what to do about her awful (truly, awful) sister. And their commander, Proust, who’s an evil bastard, still reigns supreme. By the end of the novel, literally nothing changes with these two. I have Spilling CID #9 waiting for me at the library — maybe one of them will get hit by a bus or something.