Plague by Julie Anderson
There are many ways to die. Plague is just one of them.
Work on a London tube line is halted by the discovery of an ancient plague pit and, within it, a very recent corpse. A day later another body is found, killed in the same way, also in a plague pit. This victim is linked to the Palace of Westminster, where rumours swirl around the Prime Minister and his rivals.
As the number of deaths climbs, the media stokes fear. Government assurances are disbelieved. Everyone feels threatened. This has to be resolved and fast.
The Westminster connection enables Detective Inspector Andrew Rowlands, working alone on a series of rapes and murders of vulnerable young people in central London, to finally persuade his superiors that there is a pattern. He is assigned to lead the case. Cassandra Fortune, a disgraced civil servant, is given the uncomfortable task of investigating the investigation, while joining forces with Rowlands to find the killers before Parliament rises for recess.
Together they navigate the arcane world of the Palace of Westminster as the body count grows. But someone is leaking important details about the case to the press and the media ratchets up the pressure. Misinformation and malice online feeds distrust and panic and the Black Death begins to stalk the streets of London once again.
Meanwhile the commercial and political world focuses on the launch of a huge government Thames-side building programme worth billions. Powerful forces, in Parliament and the City, are competing for its spoils. How, if at all, does this link with the killings? Drawn into the melee, Cassandra Fortune finds herself the object of the attentions of one of the major players, wealthy City broker, Lawrence Delahaye. The attraction is mutual. Fortune and Rowlands discover a shadowy underground network of influence and power as they race against the clock to prevent the death of more innocents and the destruction of the Mother of Parliaments itself. Cassandra will be forced to make a terrible decision as she faces ruin. Time is running out and it’s not clear what, or who, is going to survive.
Set in modern day London, Plague (Claret Press) by Julie Anderson is a really exciting thriller, the title suggests a novel set against a background of a plague but what this really is a gripping murder mystery and political intrigue.
The story begins when workmen discover a plague pit while working on the London underground network, but there is also a grim discovery of a body that has recently been placed there. How? And who committed the murder? Cassandra Fortune who as a civil servant has a past that he is trying hard to overcome, is there. A day later another body is discovered and there are similarities and also discovered in a plague pit. This victim has connections to the Palace of Westminster and government officials are nervous.
Mention of recently discovered bodies in plague pits and there is a media frenzy and the public are now very nervous. Is this the plague returning and are there more victims to be discovered?
The killing is not over and time is running out, high ranking civil servants want answers before Parliament closes and there is pressure on both Cassandra and Detective Inspector Rowlands to find the killers before they strike again and strike fear into the public about the return of the Black Death? Meanwhile someone really is going after Cassandra and it is not only her career that could be ended if the killers are not found and quickly. The pressure is mounting.
Running under central London is the forgotten underground River Tyburn that plays a significant role in the storyline as do some extremely dangerous people who will not stop at anything for power and they have eyes at the very top.
Plague is a fast moving thriller that has political intrigue as well as money and greed at the very heart of the story and dark secrets of London’s underground. I really enjoyed Julie Anderson’s writing as she creates some interesting characters for the plot and creates a storyline that is tense and you are not sure what is coming next and you feared for Cassandra Fortune at every turn of the page.
Thank you to Claret Press for the Netgalley review copy of Plague by Julie Anderson.
Plague by Julie Andersonis published by Claret Press and will be released on 15th September 2020 and available to pre-order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.