A woman with a family secret turns to a wounded cop with a weakness for women in trouble.
When Raymond Drew throws himself into the River Lagan from the old towpath in Belfast, he leaves behind a semidetached house, eight bags’ and boxes’ worth of personal effects, and a locked room that hides a dark personal history. His 34-year-old niece, Rea Carlisle, hopes to take possession of the house rather than live with her submissive mother and coldly ambitious father. She’s also determined to get into the locked room. What she finds there makes her call DI Jack Lennon, who dated her briefly and dumped her in a bar, because she needs to talk to someone in law enforcement about her dreadful suspicions regarding her uncle. Jack (Ratlines, 2013, etc.) isn’t the most reliable champion: He’s on suspension, living with a woman he doesn’t love, drinking and popping pills, clinging to the right to care for his motherless daughter, and fighting his superior’s attempts to push him off the force after a shootout over a Ukrainian prostitute. Jack took three bullets to get her to safety and is still partly disabled from the injury. Although he secretly thinks Rea is crazy, he still tries to help. When she’s brutally murdered, Jack is one of the suspects, and he goes rogue to find the real killer. He has some secret information of his own as protection against those who are trying to destroy him professionally, but as the stakes rise, he realizes that being kicked off the force may not be the worst danger he faces. An uneasy alliance with cool-headed DCI Serena Flanagan from the Major Investigation Team and a visit to the even darker side of a still-bleak Belfast may be Jack’s only hope of survival.
Neville’s gritty tale sets a man barely holding onto his personal worth loose in a city still recovering from the Troubles.