‘Clean Cut is the third book in Lynda La Plante’s Travis/Langdon series. DCI James Langdon has been living with DI Anna Travis for 18 months. It is not unusual for Langdon to get home late without letting Anna know, but this evening he is pushing it a bit too far. Anna is listing the good and bad points of having Langdon in her life and in her home. It is not until late in the evening that she finds out he has been brutally slashed with a machete while on a case.
Langdon almost dies and Anna puts her own life on hold for several months to nurse him back to health.
When Langdon finally does return to work (much to the surprise of many of his colleagues) he gets himself put on a case that he believes is related to the one he is working on when he was attacked. Despite it being unethical, he is intent on tracking down his attacker. He is not completely fit and is using painkillers and alcohol to keep himself going.
A number of cases end up being related. There was the rape and murder of Carly Ann, an ex-prostitute whose murderers were attempting to mutilate her body when found. A woman and child are murdered and left to rot in the most foul situation imaginable. The body of a young boy is found in a canal with his head and hands removed. The link seems to be through an illegal immigration scheme that involves prostitution, child abuse, drug running and voodoo. And, of course, there is plenty of murder.
There are so many layers of indirection hiding those responsible for the crimes that the team takes a while to get any useful information. And throughout the investigation, it is obvious to Anna that Langdon has an ulterior motive. When eventually those responsible are identified, Anna is left with some very bad feelings about some of the things that she thinks have happened.
Wow, Langdon is such a nasty creep. How could anyone put up with him! It would be nice if Anna could keep away from him but obviously that would mean the end of the series. I also had some real problems with the attitude towards illegal immigrants in this novel. It was very extreme and obviously designed to provoke a reaction.
I’m looking forward to reading the next novel in the series – ‘Deadly Intent’, for another dose of Anna and Langdon going head to head.
Book Published 2007