Even before I finished, I knew I’d be recommending this book to all my lovely crime reading peeps. So to help you derive maximum enjoyment & avoid possible jail time (see #1) I’ve put together a list of items you may want to gather before cracking the cover. You’re welcome.
1. “Go away I’m reading” sign: The book opens with a prologue that you may end up reading twice. It’s clear someone is going to die. The narrator even tells you so as they calmly identify their prey & the reason behind his impending demise. By the time you finish this part, there’s no way you’ll be putting it down. If someone were to interrupt you at this point, it’s only fair they be pre-warned you may become violent. Hence the sign.
2. a thinking cap: We go back in time before events in the prologue & meet DS Sam Batford. He has a military background that serves him well as an undercover agent with one of those murky agencies you hear rumours about. Now he’s been seconded to the National Crime Agency in a joint effort to bring down crime boss Vincent Guardino.
The NCA is led by DCI Klara Winter, an ambitious & by-the-book cop who’s not happy about being saddled with Sam. As far as she’s concerned he’s a cowboy with little regard for the rules. Or the fact she’s in charge. We get to know her mostly through daily log entries, transcribed in a blunt sardonic voice I really enjoyed.
I couldn’t reduce the plot of this book if I tried. Strap on that thinking cap & pay attention. What follows is a pacy, complex story with interesting characters. Hidden agendas, secrets & shifting alliances…at times even Sam isn’t sure who to trust. As things spiral out of control he begins to ponder his role. It’s not lost on the reader that at least he knows where he stands with the bad guys. As for the good guys….well, that’s a little more complicated.
3. neck brace: This will protect you through myriad plot twists, double crosses & jaw dropping reveals. I love reading a book that keeps me on shaky ground & this provides that feeling in spades. I genuinely had no idea how this would play out, only that not everyone was going to make it to the afterparty.
4. seatbelt: Please remain seated with it fastened for the duration. After the initial set-up there’s a rising tension that becomes palpable as you reach for the finish. Clever twists & thrills are all well & good but for a reader to really feel the story they must become invested in the characters. Sam & Klara are both compelling. They want the same result (sort of) but have different ideas on how to get there. As the book progresses we get to know them better & understand how they’ve been shaped by their individual pasts.
This is a smart, fast paced crime thriller that will keep you on your toes. Cozy fans, beware. This is gritty noir with everything that entails. Can’t wait to read book #2.