A 14-year-old goes undercover.
Even though the Shoreside council development he lives in is rife with bullies, thieves, alkies, druggies, absentee mums and a barrage of threats and dangerous encounters, Mark Carter is a good kid. He idolizes his older brother Jack, now a respectable businessman working far away, and tries to warn his addicted sister Bethany not to take up with young thug/dealer Jonny Sparks. When she overdoses, Mark is devastated and ripe for the proposal put to him by DCI Henry Christie (Critical Threat, 2007, etc.) that he infiltrate Sparks’s gang, the Hyenas, and try to bring down the drug kingpin known as the Crackman. Incurring Jack’s disapproval by tossing aside his good-boy image, Mark cozies up to the miscreants. The consequences include attacks by men wearing balaclavas and toting guns; cradling a wounded buddy while the life drains out of him; and serious familial disillusionment. When Mark is tempted to bail out, Christie insinuates him still further in. At length a series of drug busts his work has made possible releases Mark to pick up the tattered remnants of his pre-undercover life.
Less moral ambiguity than Oldham usually parcels out, and far too little of Christie. But if you’re in the mood for dysfunctional Brits, this is your cuppa.