“Hero to zero. Cop to corpse. One minute PC Harry Trasker is strolling up Walcot, Bath, on foot patrol. the next he is shot through the head. no screams, no struggle, no last words. He is picked off, felled , dead.”
This time the assassin has miscalculated. He kills at night when there are likely to be few witnesses but this time he kills in the shopping district. The sound of the shot sets of a burglar alarm and the police get to the site quickly.
Another officer, looking for quick promotion, decides to investigate on his own. He is attacked and left in critical condition. The city of Bath has lost three police officers and they could lose a fourth. It is at this point that Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond is placed in charge of the case. To this point no one has found a connection etween the three dead officers. They didn’t go through training together, they never served together, they had different levels of experience. But training and experience do not prepare anyone to elude a sniper and disquiet is beginning to spread throughout the ranks. Diamond doesn’t believe that the victims are chosen at random. When he interviews the widows, he becomes convinced that the sniper has carefully chosen his victims.
When Diamond is following up on some evidence in a secluded area, he is nearly killed by a person on a motorcycle clearly aiming to get Diamond out of the way. Even his own team cannot be counted on for support when he tells them that he hasn’t ruled out the possibility that the sniper might be another police officer.
Peter Lovesey has written twelve books in the Peter Diamond series, each showing development in the Diamond character. As Diamond gets older and he moves upward through the ranks, the problems he confronts reflect his life and his rank. Because the author makes Diamond so real, it is perhaps best to read the books in order of publication. On the other hand, they work well as stand alones, too..