Take this book as a stand alone and it's okay. Nothing special by any means but it's not quite a complete waste of time. However, take this book and shoehorn it into the series that it apparently belongs to and it fails to make sense. The timelines are a bit wonky for a start. Here, Skinner is a detective superintendent but, at the start of the first Skinner novel, released before the time this is set, he's already an ACC. Now, obviously, just because a book was released in 1993 doesn't mean to say that's when it was set. But there was never evidence to the contrary either.
Iffy timelines aside, I disliked this book for other reasons. The first one being that it used a similar (the same?) storyline as Jardine's previous stand alone, The Loner. While it was a great in The Loner, seeing it from a police perspective was rather less thrilling. It just plodded along, with no real tension or suspense. This is a shame because Jardine usually writes both these aspects well.
And Skinner himself, sheesh, what an arrogant so and so. I know in recent books that he seems to be coming across as more egotistical and overbearing but I don't remember him being this bad in the beginning in the series. We also get to read about younger versions of other characters but, honestly, they were just characters. There was little personality in them to connect the reader with the versions we already know.
All in all, a disappointing read. One for completists only, I think.