In Carr’s (The Adventures of Fred the Fly, 2016) procedural, a law enforcement plan to stop undocumented immigrants from entering the United Kingdom leads to a case involving drug smuggling and terrorism.
DS Ron O’Neill of the Birhampton Police’s immigration department gets a call about some undocumented Chinese immigrants who are due to arrive soon from Spain by truck. The caller, Errol George, tells Ron that he’d gotten his name from Dwaine Sutton, who runs a fruit and vegetable stall and is well-known among police for dealing in drugs and guns along with his older brothers, Joe, Frank, and Tom. According to Errol’s story, the truck will not only contain fruit, vegetables, and four immigrants—it will likely accommodate a drug shipment, as well. Moreover, Errol says that he’s certain that the Suttons’ operation includes a few crooked cops. As authorities assemble a team to intercept the truck, it’s revealed that an unscrupulous British politician may be laundering money, acquired through drug deals, to groups in the Middle East. With so many elements at play, the operation is bound to hit some snags—which means that not everyone may come out of it alive. Carr, whose previous work was a children’s book, makes a smooth transition to adult-oriented fiction with this detective tale. It engagingly runs through the steps in bringing together various types of lawmen to thwart the bad guys—some of whom eventually end up in a courtroom. The operation, for example, includes other Special Branch officers as well as MI5, whose agents focus on terrorism. There aren’t too many surprises here, but the narrative still keeps up the tension as several different subplots threaten to spin out of control. It is a bit disappointing, though, that Carr doesn’t delve further into his characters’ lives—particularly Ron’s, as the few mentions of his late wife, Helen, are truly evocative. The conclusion is somewhat abrupt, but it’s also true-to-form for the genre—just the end of another case for its heroes.
A sometimes-predictable but still absorbing police story.