The Lucky Ones
by Mark Edwards
Review by Mel Jacob
Thomas & Mercer Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781477848272
Date: 15 June 2017
The Lucky Ones is a well-written murder mystery from noted English author Mark Edwards. The Shropshire Viper, a serial killer, leaves his victims smiling. When Shropshire D.I. Imogen Evans is assigned the case of a middle-aged victim discovered dead in a wooded area. The battle of wits begins but may end endangering her or the life of someone close to her.
Edwards reveals his story from three major viewpoints: the Viper, Ben Hofland, and Imogen.
D.I. Evans moved to Shrewsbury hoping to find a more hospitable environment and an opportunity for advancement beyond London. She soon finds herself saddled with the Shropshire Viper case. After talking with the pathologist, she learns the latest victim, Fiona Redbridge, died from an overdose of morphine, but the woman was a health addict and did not do drugs. Her expensive bike is also missing.
Imogen finds clues among the previous Viper victims that had similarities to Fiona's story. Gradually she begins to build a case, but determining the identity of the Viper remains a puzzle. The facts tell her little about the killer.
While Ben was born in Ironbridge, he hadn't lived there for some time. After a breakup with his wife, he and his son Ollie moved to Ironbridge. Unemployed and bedeviled by noisy neighbors, Ben tries to improve his relationship with his son and seek employment. Unhappiness defines him.
Then things take a turn for the better and his life improves. He is offered a writing assignment, his son seems to be reconciled to living away from London, and the noisy neighbors are gone. He also met Imogen when she was investigated the murder next door and hopes to see more of her.
As Imogen tracks down clues and suspects, she learns Fiona had recently experienced some very good luck. She received a new heart, had a lover, and her husband had gifted her with an expensive bike. The place she died was where she first learned about the new heart. It appears each victim experienced a period of good luck and happiness just before they died and were left in a place of happiness for them.
The characters are three dimensional and the pace speeds up as Imogen builds her case in this well-structured mystery. Some might nitpick at the resources and knowledge required to identify potential victims and fund the activities to make them happy. Obviously, not all things could be controlled.
Edwards expertly keeps surprises for the readers. Those who like complex characters and police procedurals will enjoy this mystery. As a successful author, Edwards has a list of mysteries as well another series with Louise Voss.