DI Callanach has just moved to Scotland from France and is determined to impress his new colleagues. His first case is the disappearance of Elaine Buxton, which quickly becomes a murder investigation. Shortly afterwards, the disappearance of a second victim, Jayne Magee, means he knows he is looking for a serial killer and must find the perpetrator before he strikes again. But the truth of what happened to the victims is much darker than Callanach dares to believe.
Perfect Remains is not a whodunnit: the reader discovers fairly quickly who the killer is. The thrill of this book is in the chase. There are chapters about how the killer is treating his victims at regular intervals and as his acts become more gruesome and his mindset becomes more disturbed, I was willing Callanach and his team to find a link that would help them to find him more quickly.
Perfect Remains is set in a beautiful landscape, particularly the location where the remains of the first body are found, and the novel is very descriptive. This allows Fields to create an atmosphere which is a stark contrast to the acts of brutality about which I was reading, and I enjoyed the way that this technique enables her to build tension as the investigation gathers pace.
I enjoyed my first introduction to Callanach, who, unlike many of the fictional detectives I have discovered recently, is a more traditional detective. He appears colder and more reluctant to allow his colleagues into his personal life. However, he does have a complex back story, which piqued my interest, and whilst I did not connect emotionally with him, I am left wanting to learn more about him in future instalments. I am also interested to see how his relationship with DI Ava Turner develops over time.
There is a sub plot to Perfect Remains - a second investigation led by DI Turner that runs alongside Callanach's case involving missing babies. I enjoyed this part of the novel and felt that it could almost have been the premise for a book in itself. I was expecting the two cases to come together somehow, and was slightly disappointed that they did not, as I would have liked to see the issues raised in this section explored in more depth.
Perfect Remains is available from Amazon.