It starts with a crime scene that’s lain undiscovered for thirty years. Detective Jake Porter, and his partner, Nick Styles, find a severed hand in an abandoned flat. It belongs to a young girl, Natasha Barclay, who hasn’t been seen in decades, but who has never been reported missing, not even by her family or friends. Porter, who’s still struggling to cope with the loss of his wife, is up against allegations of police corruption, and a criminal who’s hidden in plain sight for decades, as he digs through thirty years of lies. A hidden family history begins to surface, but there are those who would rather the past stayed buried.
There is always an air of anticipation when I pick up a debut novel. Competition is fierce in the Crime genre with so many outstanding authors around it can be tough to break through but I think we have someone that could soon be up there with the best of them. I recently saw a quote on social media from another author saying this will be a contender for crime fiction debut of the year, so picked it up with high expectations, and pleased to say that it has my vote. Porter and Styles spark off each other in a way that drives the narrative forward at just the right speed, drawing you in as a member of their team, right in the thick of a complex investigation. Great plotting weaves in elements of organised crime, police corruption and family tragedy, shuttling between present day London, and the city of thirty years ago. You can’t help but want to have Porter’s back, after all he’s gone through with his wife’s death, and seems to be battling on all fronts to fight his way through to the truth of what happened to Natasha. Some great snappy dialogue throughout, and put me in mind at times of the T.V. series “The Wire”. All in all, this has the makings of a great series. Looking forward to seeing what Robert Scragg serves up next.
By Mik Brown