It turns out I should have read this before my other recent David Lawrence crime novel, as that came first, but it didn’t matter. They are both Lawrence on top of his form and nothing prevented my enjoyment of another seamlessly exciting police procedural. I was hooked in from the beginning and enjoyed every moment of this brilliantly sharp and clever story. The plot was ingenious and began with four deaths, one of which was unconnected to the three others. Three were red herrings, it was the fourth that was important – that of Jimmy Stone, a minder for the sinister Tanner family, drug dealers with a side-line in the sex trade.
Detective Sergeant Stella Mooney is once more the lead, aided by her team, and we come to learn much about her secret vulnerabilities connected to a distant case in which a number of children were involved. Not to mention her interest in a certain Delaney, a journalist with a history of war reporting. Then DS Mooney is plagued throughout by tinnitus, after being attacked by a Barbary Ape, which had been left to guard the locked cupboard where a stash of drugs was kept. Makes a change from Pit Bull Terriers.
There are a range of evil-doers, including the men whose job it is to make sure none of the women spend more than 15 minutes with a client, but some even worse, including a Serb, one of a group of men over from the continent to meet up with the Tanner family who want an enhanced flow of girls arriving for their brothels and street action. One of the girls is Zhura Hadzic who recognises the Serb, Piric, as the man who killed her family.
Fast-paced, full of incident and action, this is one of the best policiers I’ve read. It’s a thoroughly nasty story and so sharp it could cut itself. Dark, grim and full of anger. I recommend it for its pin-point accuracy about how the police work. But this is not for the faint-hearted, it is laced throughout with violence.