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Remission: A gripping edge-of-your-seat crime thriller (A DI Frank Keane novel) Kindle Edition
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Given its status as the third book in an ongoing series, Remission is understandably front-loaded with Frank Keane’s back-story. While this initially feels alienating, it quickly fades into the background as the multi-layered narrative hits its stride. The police procedural aspect may give the book its initial structure, but the story isn’t tethered to this set-up, and effectively combines the initial whodunit hook with a far darker storyline about a merciless German neo-Nazi organisation – and its plans to send shockwaves through Europe.
The Anglo-German narrative adds a welcome cosmopolitan edge to the proceedings, and the story never lingers in one place for too long, with Keane desperate to outrun the men hunting him. Indeed, the chapters that step away from the Liverpool-based investigation are the most compelling: bodies pile-up throughout, and the neo-Nazi antagonists give the story a genuinely sinister edge, especially when tensions bubble up between them, and their threats take on a stomach-churning psychological edge.
To his credit, Chatterton avoids following well-trodden narrative paths throughout, and Keane’s story has a bleak, unremitting quality that serves it well. There are no easy resolutions – far from it – and this book boasts some genuinely shocking scenes.
In saying.that the storyline fairly speeds along and has a few unexpected twists and turns.
I have the Frank Keane books 1&2 now on my wish list and look forward to reading those to.
I suspect from the ending that we may see a book 4 and would certainly go for that as well. If you want to know why then I suggest you get a copy.
Note that 5 stars were considered but silly errors on Police ranks allowed only four stars, shame really.
Ed Chatterton's crime thriller, Remission, opens with Frank Keane, a Liverpool cop, in possession of £25 million and incurable cancer. The money comes from a dodgy character from his mission in America to keep schtum about his Stateside business. Suspended from the force, he spends a bit of quiet time in the countryside, but, this being a crime thriller, such peace doesn't last long. Keane will check his shoulder to see if his American "friend" or Liverpool drug gangs are behind him with a gun aimed at the back of his head.
Meanwhile, the body of a woman is found in a van stolen from a Berlin Clinic but which has crashed in Liverpool, leaving both abductors dead and leaving a bunch of weird questions behind.
So begins a trail of blood and terror which Liverpool's MIT try to clear up and from which Frank Keane tries to escape and ultimately solve. It's a thrill-ride and a grim exploration of far right extremism. There's one scene in a zoo where a German Nazi operative is threatened by another in such a way you lose sight of his extremism and experience a real primal fear for him that I almost fell off my chair. I can't remember a time I read something which made me so clammy and fearful, and that includes Ellroy.
Chatterton matches it later at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, a scene of horror as grim as anything I've ever read. The buildup is pacy, relentless, cold (and funny). Keane's cancer gives the book a personal urgency which parallels the larger picture and gives the novel some warmth from the cold motives which populate the rest of the story.
There are a lot of characters in the book. Frank Keane is the protagonist, but he's not the sole viewpoint. We get in the head of his colleague and former lover, Harris, as well as her protege, the far right characters, and even the security team in Berlin. I'm fine with all that, though I'm not sure how I needed to get involved in the security team's mindset. It seemed a bit much. There is also some head switching within scenes which can lead to a bit of confusion.
If you leave the book for a while you might get lost on returning with all the stories involved, but I doubt you'll leave this lying on the bedside table for long. It compels you to turn pages and its darkness drags you into its abyss.
A great read.
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