Both the personal and professional lives of DCI Henry Christie, now based at the Lancashire police HQ, are about to take roller-coaster turns. His reconciliation with his ex-wife Kate may be derailed by his dalliance with DI Jane Roscoe, and the deaths of JJ, a skimming collection agent for drug nabob Ray Cragg, and his girlfriend may signal a particularly nasty return of underworld turf wars. In short order, three drug dealers are shot, two bodies are dumped into a quarry, there’s a massacre over fast-food cheeseburgers, Ray’s half-brother Marty is executed gangland-style, and Ray’s mistress becomes Ray’s punching bag when he discovers she really loved poor Marty. Moreover, the gent executed along with Marty was an American undercover narc trying to infiltrate the gang run by Mendoza, Spain’s leading lowlife. While Christie tries to extricate himself from Jane’s demands and unravel a million secret alliances and double-dealings (including a few engineered by police higher-ups) the thieves’ killing spree continues, and thousands of pounds of Ray’s drug profits disappear. One more shoot-’em-up with dire results will cause Christie to be suspended for poor judgment, but not before he puts paid to Ray Cragg’s vicious pursuits.
Oldham, whose writing career (Backlash, not reviewed, etc.) dovetails nicely with his 25-year stint in police operations, believes in a bloody good time . . . and several dandy plot twists.