Joe Donovan’s team of “information brokers” unravels a tangle of violent crimes that threaten to trigger a race war.
Now that former Newcastle cop Peta Knight is back to freelancing after the dissolution of her investigation company Albion (Bone Machine, 2008, etc.), charismatic 1970s radical Trevor Whitman hires her to find out who’s been barraging him with threatening phone calls. Peta takes the assignment reluctantly because she suspects duplicitous Trevor of sleeping with her mother, Lillian. Meanwhile, racial tensions rise in the area when Sooliman Patel, a young Muslim student, is set on fire and tossed out of a car. Members of the neo-Nazi National Unity Party are suspected of the crime. A trio of troubled teenagers living on the street provide a view of skinhead culture, an underworld of drugs, unstable living and sex for sale. When young Kev lets his best friend Jason run away when Kev can’t follow through on the knife attack that would constitute a skinhead initiation, Jason, who calls himself The Butcher Boy, reconnects with Jamal, a very young Albion alumnus whose skin color now puts him in additional danger. Donovan and Amar Miah, the fourth and final member of Albion, follow new leads in the heartbreaking case of Donovan’s missing son. At length these simmering plotlines converge with shocking impact.
Waites’s robust storytelling keeps the tale afloat through an early tangle of tenuously connected threads. Though the pitch may be too feverish for some, the climax will pay off for the engaged.