When Detective Inspector John Marco of the Wales Police Service in Cardiff gets an early morning call about a body found in the river, he thinks it’s a routine drowning. But, when it’s discovered that the body has had its tongue removed, he realizes that it’s anything but routine. When another body is found with the tongue removed, Marco finds himself up to his hips in a case involving the close-mouthed and thoroughly intimidated Polish community in Cardiff, prostitution and human trafficking.
Speechless by Stephen Puleston is a riveting crime story that takes the reader from the seamy underworld of Cardiff’s working class neighborhoods to the posh mansions of the city’s upper crust, and then to the dangerous back streets of Warsaw, as Marco chases a merciless criminal whose trademark is removing the tongues of his victims. At the same time, he has to navigate the perilous bureaucratic waters of his own department and his own personal demons.
Crime drama at its best, with some of the strongest character development I’ve seen in the genre since Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. I give Speechless four stars.