The suspicious death of his son brings an undercover spook for MI-5’s Special Ops out of retirement with a vengeance.
When cancer claimed his wife, Hannah, seven years ago, Tom Bettany couldn’t be bothered bonding with his son, Liam. Instead, he retreated to France and took a job loading the trucks that served a meat-packing plant. Now the news that Liam’s fallen from the balcony of his flat—really a terrace barely a foot wide—while smoking a joint finally brings him back home. Even before he realizes that there’s no sign of a lighter or match Liam could have used to light up, Tom’s inquiries about who sold his son the Muskrat he was smoking have ruffled some serious feathers. A shadowy criminal kingpin named Bishop is very interested in his movements. So are the Brothers McGarry, still smarting from the work he did in sending them to prison. Even Dame Ingrid Tearney, First Desk at Tom’s old intelligence service, gets into the act. A trained operative like Tom has no trouble with the first wave of thugs sent to hurt him, and he’s not very kind to Tearney’s errand boy, either. But what are the odds that he’ll be able to stay alive long enough to confront Liam’s boss, millionaire video game developer Vincent Driscoll, and find out who was kind enough to light Liam’s last spliff?
Herron (Dead Lions, 2013, etc.) strips his revenge story to the bone, paring away unnecessary characters, episodes, speeches and gestures to produce a violent little elegy that grows both more clever and more sour as it hurtles along.