Detective Superintendent Thomas Lynley has suffered a huge personal loss, and is walking the rugged cliffs of Cornwall to come to terms with it. "Careless in Red" is not only the story of his struggle with grief, it is the story of several families and their similar struggles, with a focus on the understandable (but vain) effort of parents to control the lives of their children.
In the course of his walk, Lynley finds the body of young Santo Kerne at the bottom of the cliff he had been climbing, and as the investigation of the death develops, the superintendent is drawn into it at the behest of local police Detective Inspector Bea Hannaford, who is having family problems of her own. DS Barbara Havers makes an appearance--and a somewhat unusual partner for DI Hannaford.
Cornwall and its surfing world are well handled in this new Lynley novel. (One minor complaint is that some terms of climbing are not explained.) While not all the characters are believable (voluptuous Dellen Kerne and her son Santo are among those who test that limit), most are fully rounded and lifelike; and several are very amusing. (I really savored DI Hannaford and company.) Some of the descriptive passages and dialogues are overwritten--meant, I think, to be poetic, but seeming instead over-literary. The resolution of the murder is not particularly satisfying, not because of the identity of the murderer, but because of the final mechanics of the solution.
I found the novel very enjoyable, and if you are a Lynley and Havers fan, I think you will too. The complications of parenthood are nicely explored, and the bittersweet consequences of love and loss, Lynley's and others, will draw you in.