The Docklands are a study in contrasts: In the shadow of the gleaming new office towers of Canary Wharf huddle the mean council flats that shelter London's unwanted and sometimes illegal immigrants, who fled political oppression in Asia and Africa only to find discrimination and brutality in the land of liberty. Sally Neill's Docklands flat, which once seemed to promise her friend Laura Ackroyd (The Italian Girl, 2000, etc.) escape—not only from the provincialism of the Bradfield Gazette but from a soured love affair—turns in a moment from haven to hell when Laura sees a gang of skinheads killing young Somali Osman Barre. Now she receives threatening calls on a number no one should know, and when she goes to Stepney to hear Sally's boyfriend Tom Massey sing, she's attacked by a knife-wielding thug. Meantime, Laura's abandoned lover, DCI Michael Thackeray (who forgot to mention he was married), has his own immigrant problems. Safi Haque, teenaged daughter of one of Bradfield's prosperous, clannish Pakistani families has gone missing, and no one—not handsome DC Kevin Mower, not even Punjab-speaking DC Rita Desai, on loan from Leeds—can pry loose from the tight-lipped Muslim community a hint of her whereabouts. Worse yet, all-out racial warfare threatens when a fellow schoolgirl reports seeing Safi riding up Aysgarth Road in a silver BMW—the same car found smashed in a suburban garden next to the body of prominent Muslim businessman Imran Hussain.
Jane Eyre redux, with violence, adult themes.