A third adventure for an aging cockney copper and his colorful colleagues.
DCI Jack “Jane” Austin—member of the Church of Egypt (De-Nile), dispenser of nicknames, cheerful mangler of the English language—was shot and nearly killed two months ago in breaking up a pedophile ring. Even more recently, he’s survived an explosion while he was wearing a tutu in the streets of Portsmouth. Now he thinks he’s dying again, although his lover and boss, DS Amanda Bruce, assures him he’s merely hung over. Nor is he much of an Adonis: he lost an eye and was badly scarred in the line of duty years back, and he has love handles and varicose veins. He’s nearly 60 and a widower; Amanda’s 54 and a single mother; but they’re as randy as teenagers around each other. Even though Jack has stepped down from Community Policing, which he established and which is really a front for MI5, he’s back in the field, despite suffering from PTSD. He’s too valuable to MI5, especially since he recently reeled in the criminal Lionel Thacker—aka Len, Lionel Thackeray, or Norafarty for Moriarty—as an informant. When Jack and a beautiful young DC with shady family connections and a curious bond with Jack investigate the rumors of a dead dog or dogs thrown into the harbor, Jack is shot again. Then the head of the British Armed Forces is found dead and a prominent banker is murdered. Moreover, a star chamber for very senior retired military officers appears to have an even more select and shadowy group operating above it. Jack has a good idea why and why he has to leave the womenfolk behind for a final showdown with the forces of power and greed—even though he’s Portsmouth’s worst shot.
All credit to Adams (Irony in the Soul, 2013, etc.) for his fertile imagination but not for knowing when his muddle of bathroom jokes, sentimentality, slap and tickle, violence, and Jane Austen quotations gets tiresome.