After a long hiatus, has a notorious serial killer returned to terrorize a city in northern Spain?
On the eve of Día de Santiago in Vitoria, Inspector Unai “Kraken” López de Ayala is summoned to a bizarre murder scene.
A young couple has been found in the crypt of an old cathedral, murdered and artfully arranged with flowers near their heads and feet. Estíbaliz Ruiz de Gauna, Kraken’s colleague in the Criminal Investigation Unit, is shaken by the similarities to the crimes of a notorious serial killer who terrorized Vitoria 20 years earlier. Famed archaeologist Tasio Ortiz de Zárate is serving a lengthy prison sentence for those crimes.
Kraken, who urges caution in linking the new case to the earlier serial crimes, is surprised to find that his new superintendent,
Alba Díaz de Salvatierra, is the woman he just flirted with on the street. Tension rises with the discovery of more victims, similarly arranged. The investigative path does indeed lead to Tasio, who has become a successful screenwriter behind bars and fashions himself a criminologist and has reached out to Kraken, offering his expertise.
Unnervingly, Tasio continues to shadow Kraken’s investigation and send him messages about the crimes. Flashbacks take the reader to 1969, when an alarmingly composed man named Álvaro Urbina is grimly determined to kill one Javier Ortiz de Zárate, whose relationship to Tasio is incrementally revealed.
As Kraken tries to ferret out the killer, flashbacks move the complex backstory forward and into clearer focus.
The first installment in García Sáenz’s White City Trilogy is a work of impressive scope and depth, compellingly written.