Now in the middle of her six-month exchange with the Westford Connecticut Police Department, Scottish Detective Annie Macpherson is barely tying up the loose ends from her last case when a new one appears. The vicious murder of a local priest has all the marks of a ritualistic attack, but what is the motive behind it? Before they can answer that, Annie and her colleague, Detective Dave Ellison, find they have another body on their hands whose injuries are too similar for it to be coincidence. And if that wasn’t enough, Annie’s love life has just got more complicated.
Joined by Detective Bronski, the third member of their team, they find themselves drawn into a statewide investigation into child pornography. Their lines of inquiry are tangled by parents who want to take the law into their own hands, and instances of domestic abuse, not to mention the question of how high the intrigue goes – can they even trust their own police chief?
In her second Annie Macpherson novel, Barbara Fagan Speake once again dissects the issues which drive her characters – the potent themes of love, revenge and moral ambiguity. The twist here is that we also see into the mind of the murderer, the desire to observe the reactions of the victims, and the motivation of those who hide dark secrets behind the face they present to the world.
Programmed to Kill is a fast paced police procedural, pitting the detectives against intelligent adversaries who plan meticulously. By the end you may wonder if you’re on the side of law and order after all…