Author: LJ Ross
Category: Crime Fiction, Police Procedural, Book Review
When an old man is burned alive in a sleepy ex-mining village, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is called in to investigate. He soon discovers that, beneath the facade of a close-knit community, the burn from decades-old betrayal still smoulders. When everyone had a motive, can he unravel the secrets of the past before the killer strikes again?
Opening with a prologue set during the Miner’s strike in 1984, the location is the village of Penshaw, in County Durham. A terrible time for the country which resulted in the closure of mines and collieries, deaths, imprisonment and long held grievances.
The emotions, volatility of the situation, rising tide of feelings and knock on effect is captured perfectly. Thirty five years later Alan Watson, whose life went on a downward spiral after the mine closed, is killed in a house fire, his wife badly injured.
Following straight on from the previous book, with only a couple of days between the two, Jack Lowerson once again finds himself in a dangerous situation he can’t control, with the preceding events gradually unfolding and the consequences of his actions affecting the team, particularly Ryan.
Frank Phillips and Denise MacKenzie are adjusting to life as adoptive parents. Their interactions, and Sam’s experiences in school, and the unique way she deals with bullies, add humour and light-heartedness to an otherwise darker story.
Ryan has been tasked to lead Operation Watchman, a new initiative targeting organised crime in the region, as well as investigating the fire at Alan Watson’s house with Phillips. To make matters worse, it seems someone is leaking information to the people they’re investigating, and he’s unable to discuss it with anyone, not even Phillips. Ryan is under pressure to expose the corruption before any more damage is done.
Blackett and Morrison looked at him with twin expressions of pity.
“You can’t possibly think someone in my team is bent?”
“We don’t know anything for sure, yet, Ryan,” Morrison said quietly, watching the emotions play over his face.
When Morrison had first learned that ACU would be conducting an undercover investigation into CID, she’d had much the same reaction.