After seven years, a psychopath starts killing again. He is mutilating women, and hanging them upside down in abandoned buildings with a meat hook through their ankles. Pinned to their breasts are messages in ancient languages.
Parish and Richards begin their investigation, but Chief Inspector Trevor Naylor wants revenge on Parish, and the killer wants Mary Richards.
A grave containing the skeleton of ten year-old Amy Linton – missing for eight years – is found in Galleyhill Wood in Essex, and then Head of Forensics, Paul Toadstone, finds more skeletons in the same grave, and more graves in the woods.
If you've read Chapter 1 you'll know that DCI Marshall has taken the place of Chief Walter Day, transferred Kowalski to Traffic Analysis, and is taking an active role in running the investigations... But what you don't know is that DCI Marshall has an agenda!
PC Lola Laveque in Missing Persons identifies a pattern. Murders are thin on the ground, so Parish and Richards decide to investigate. Their investigations lead them all over Essex, and eventually to Maldon where they discover one man's obsession for his family.
Parish and Richards investigate a case involving recently pregnant headless bodies disposed of in the sewers. Not only do they struggle to discover the identity of the victims, but they can't find the babies either. Kowalski and Nash investigate the death of a landlady who has been bludgeoned to death and a withered flower left on the body.
Parish & Richards have two cases to solve. One turns out to be unfinished business, the other is very close to home. Angie struggles to come to terms with her new baby. Kowalski is promoted, but someone is out to ruin him. Two detectives join the team, and are allocated the case of five bodies discovered in the grounds of a house.
Parish and Richards travel to Quantica, Virginia, and they stumble over an American serial Killer called "The Painter". Chief Kowalski and his wife Jerry are accused of Satanic Ritual Abuse of their children, who are taken away by Social Services - Kowalski has another heart attack and ends up in hospital... The story continues.
Parish & Richards must find a killer who is carving broken hearts on women's abdomens. Stick & Xena have the case of a severed hand, but Xena has her own problems. Jerry gets involved with a woman who thinks someone is trying to kill her, so she asks Cookie for help who gets herself into serious trouble in doing so. Parish & Richards finally get the chance to visit the Excess Bagage depot.
Parish & Richards are sent to Cyprus to discover if a British Army officer being held by the Cypriot police is responsible for murdering a local woman and the disappearance of three other women, or whether he is being made a scapegoat by the anti-British elements of the Cypriot government.
Parish, Richards and a DI from Norwich investigate the death of a child, which is linked to child abductions across the southeast. Parish also receives a severed tongue and a location in the post. In his search for Jerry, Kowalski must travel to Wales to find out the truth behind his wife’s disappearance. During his travels he must help a desperate Cookie who is on the run.
Parish and Richards are on a body hunt. Xena – with the help of Charlie Baxter, Cookie and Jenifer – conducts an investigation from her hospital bed to prove Stick is innocent, even though he won’t help himself. Kowalski can’t concentrate on his job with Jerry in a drug-induced coma in the hospital, so he tackles an unsolved cold case from the 1980s called the Red Spider murders.
Parish & Richards are given the case of a gifted boy murdered on the fourteenth green at the local golf course; Richards is also trying to find out if a 1966 diary that she bought at a car boot sale, and written by a captive 15 year-old girl called Loveday, is genuine. Stick and Xena are working to solve the case of a young woman found in a wood.
Parish & Richards investigate what appears to be the simple case of a woman who was sexually assaulted and murdered in her own apartment, but Richards is convinced it's the work of a serial killer . . .
Stick & Xena attend the A&E at King George Hospital to investigate a woman who says that she murdered her boyfriend, but things are a lot more complicated than they first appear . . .
Richards is seconded to the Serious Crime Analysis Section (SCAS). When Epping detectives put Carrie's murder on the pending pile, Parish knows that he must find her killer. Jerry goes back to work, and decides to take things easy. Stick & Xena question a man about a murder confession.
Parish and Richards are given the baffling case of a man drained of blood, but this murder is only the beginning . . .
Stick and Xena investigate a series of double murders, but nothing is ever as simple as it first appears . . .
Jerry and two other students are tasked to produce a project on D-Notices, but things quickly spiral out of control, and then Bronwyn gets involved . . .
Due to a shortage of murders, Parish and Richards are asked to help out in the search for a missing eight year-old girl. Xena and Stick are seconded to the Kent & Essex Serious Crime Directorate and are put on stake-out outside an industrial unit waiting for a drug delivery; and Bronwyn books into the Beautiful You Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in London.
Parish and Richards investigate a murdered ten year-old boy. A three-link chain tattoo under his top lip hints at something more sinister when a DNA match is found on the database that has been sealed. Stick and Xena get the Painted Lady Killer case. Someone has body-painted a young woman as two halves of a clown – good and evil. Kowalski and Bronwyn have opened up Abacus Investigations.
Parish and Richards are given the case of a beautiful naked mutilated woman who seems to have walked away from her life. Xena and Stick must find out whether the killer of an eight year old girl has returned 24 years later to finish what he started. After the death of a DI from Romford, the Chief Constable asks Kowalski to come back initially for a month to solve the case.
For Parish and Richards, what begins with the discovery of a small heart carved into the forehead of a murdered young woman, turns into the search for a prolific serial killer called The Lover, and involves the Met’s Serious Crimes Investigative Team (SCIT) descending on them to lead the investigation. Xena and Stick investigate when a mother and three children are murdered at a farm.