Written by Alex Howard

Review written by Angela Hatherell

Head of Zeus
RRP: £12.99
Released: 8th May 2014
Trade Pbk

How to begin describing this intriguing, convoluted book? Well, at the beginning we have a calm view of the Essex coast to lull us into a false sense of security, which is quickly broken by the  sight of a derelict army building, inside which is the badly- burned body of a young Somali girl. The forensic team in charge is joined by DI Hanlon. 

 DI Hanlon is a very interesting character. She is tall, very slim, very muscular, she never smiles, always dresses in dark clothes. She is between jobs because, having broken police procedure, she has rescued a colleague from a mob, which was a sackable offence, and earned her a medal. You can't sack a medal-winner. She has come to this scene to see if this crime could be connected to a series of abductions of children, possibly for paedophile purposes.

 DI Hanlon (no forename ) also has a grudge against a crook involved in drugs, and here I must suggest that you make a note of names - new characters are introduced, one or two to every chapter it feels, and I had difficulty remembering which were good guys and which, bad. Against a background of police procedure Hanlon, aided by side-kick Whiteside, beats up a small-time dealer to get the name of the next in the chain, and by increasingly violent means gets to the top man. The complication is that he is involved in the paedophile racket. 

 The pace beats on relentlessly, leading to the paedophile himself, a somewhat shocking revelation, and there is the requisite amount of suspense: will they get there in time etc.

 I did enjoy this book, and noted some very beautiful descriptions, but one or two things didn't please me. There is a lot of unnecessary tourist-guiding through London, but most of it is the violence. Hanlon gets more and brutal, and the book ends with a blood-bath worthy of James Bond with added gore. I found Hanlon's excesses of violence rather too much, beyond normal human capability. If you enjoy a story well-crafted and absorbing do try it. If you are at all squeamish - think twice.


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