The Skeleton Lake by Andrew Lowe [8/10]

Pandemic-hammered 2021 has to be a golden age for classical UK police procedural mysteries. I enjoy regular reads of a number of authors and series, but Andrew Lowe’s series, featuring DI Jake Sawyer, is the peak. Sawyer can sound unreal in the description: tall, martial arts, articulate, attuned to horrible murderers, beset by psychological problems from his past. But the quality of Lowe’s style, with its light touch, razor-sharp dialogue, intelligence, and sprightly motion, renders Jake Sawyer as entirely credible and, indeed, heroic. All this as background for “The Skeleton Lake,” the sixth in the series, in which Sawyer, on the run since being framed in the previous instalment, and pursued by corrupt officials and police, attempts reinstatement while pursuing a baffling, macabre series of killings of older folks. The plot twists sinuously, the Peaks District locales come to life, and the large roster of characters, good and evil (you might be best to begin at Number One, Creepy Crawly), captivate. The Skeleton Lake is compulsive reading for us legions of crime fiction fans.

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