I read Bauer's first book and thought it was OK. Quite promising in fact although a little artificial. I didn't read the second but saw that it had lots of rave reviews of Amazon so assumed that she had improved. And now this one.
I almost don't know what to say about it. Like a previous reviewer has said, its not that there aren't good bits, a few pages at a time where any reader can get caught up with thinking that this is a well written crime novel. The problem is that the author, on a regular basis, gives her characters preposterous things to do and say and what makes it worse is that now we are on book 3 of a series of crimes all taking place in a small area of Exmoor, there is also the slightly farcical sense that absolutely everybody in these books is either a criminal, a victim or just about to become one.
But it is the constant absurd behaviour of the characters that jars. A small example. We have a serious kidnapping case investigated by a none too bright male detective and his side-kick female. They are getting nowhere. They have no clues as too the perpetrator. Up pops the local bobby who spots the reason why cars in the vicinity of the kidnappings have had theirs windows smashed. What do the lead detectives do ? They pour scorn on what is obviously a worthwhile theory and shoo the PC away. Its nonsense. The police just aren't that stupid. And this is just one of dozens and dozens of examples of behaviour that under the circumstance is just inexplicable. People don't behave this way.
To me this feels like the first draft of a novel that the author has ripped through in a few weeks and then without any input from an editor or any further re-writes has simply been published. Perhaps that's how thing get done these days. Which is a pity because somewhere in here is a writer who could do a lot better.