Bruen (American Skin, 2006, etc.) revisits the dark side of London, home of the dishonest, the depraved and the detestable—and that’s just the police.
Seated at the bar in one of his favorite hangouts, Detective Sergeant Tom Brant, the cop other cops love to hate, is sucking up whisky and thinking fond thoughts of his hero Ed McBain when an interloper enters and puts a bullet in his back. Regret floods South East Met with the news that the wound is not fatal. The shooter is soon identified as neophyte hit man Terry Banks, whose employer, tycoon Rodney Lewis, dislikes Brant for obscure reasons but with homicidal intensity and zero tolerance for failure. As a result, bungling Terry gets snuffed. Meanwhile, back at Met headquarters, distemper rules as usual. WPC Liz Falls has managed to lie and cheat her way to the rank of sergeant without alleviating her self-loathing. Chief Inspector James Roberts’s rampant bitterness is more corrosive than ever.
Constable MacDonald, once a Met golden boy, has added another blot to his copybook, this one likely to be permanent, in a dashed-off story line noticeably bereft of Bruen’s customary stylishness. What was he thinking?