It isn’t the best of times for the Donegal Garda’s Inspector Benedict Devlin (Gallows Lane, 2009, etc.).
His attempt to protect Natalia Almurzayev, the illegal Chechen widow of a singularly inept bank robber, from harassment and deportation goes spectacularly wrong. His ill-advised comments about the upcoming visit of U.S. Sen. Cathal Hagen plays havoc with the security arrangements. And when Ben’s childhood friend Leon Bradley uses a ticket Ben supplied to get closer to Hagen during a ceremony, Leon shoots Hagen, and Ben’s a moment too late to stop him. Ben’s new boss, Supt. Harry Patterson, takes considerable satisfaction in suspending him for two weeks. But although the suspension weighs on Ben’s mind, it doesn’t slow his police work down a bit. He’s still on hand at two new crime scenes—he discovers one of the corpses himself—and he works leads, gives advice to Patterson and crosses over to Northern Ireland to rile his local counterparts with as much pugnacity as ever. It’s clear that the political corruption, human trafficking, runaway pollution and eco-protest run amok that he unearths are all tied to the Orcas gold mine from the moment its owner, millionaire John Weston, insists on presenting Ben with an expensive necklace. But what pattern links all these diverse crimes, and how can Weston and his cronies possibly be brought to justice?
The hugely ambitious catalogue of crimes is as forgettable as Ben, with his keen compassion and ungovernable temper, is memorable.