A runaway prostitute fights to stay a few steps ahead of a brooding detective and a crime lord in Northern Ireland.
Chief Inspector Celcius Daly needs to be a knight in shining armor after the car accident that paralyzed his wife and ended his marriage. When he discovers that the same need brought Jack Fowler, a real estate developer and former IRA gunrunner, to a watery end, Daly must determine if his death was suicide. Fowler had been misusing funds meant to regenerate communities in South Amargh, on the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, and his bubble was about to pop. Before he died, however, he set up an account for Lena Novak, the mistress he rescued from a border brothel. Jozef Mikolajek, the owner of the brothel and the women in it, is as determined as Daly to find Lena. A former cellmate of Fowler’s is also in pursuit. In Lena’s determination to get home to Croatia, she leads the three men in a direction none of them could have foreseen and at least one of them regrets. Daly’s descent into the black-market operations and empty housing developments of the border country gives the reader little hope but much sympathy for the two main characters.
Quinn (Disappeared, 2012) can’t be accused of sentimentality in his portrait of contemporary Northern Ireland, the tough detective who grew up there and the even tougher woman brought there against her will.