Sirens – Joseph Knox

Modern British crime novel set in Manchester, looking at the drug scene and some of the city’s less attractive features, areas, and characters.

The hero is Aidan Waits, a loose cannon of a policeman who oversteps the law and falls into the clutches of a superior officer determined to send him into deep undercover. There, he is tasked with collecting evidence against a local drug boss, one of whose girlfriends disappeared without a trace ten years ago. At the same time, a member of parliament has a wayward daughter who has done a runner and is enmeshed in the dark underbelly of that city.

Waits is a compelling enough character to keep the reader’s interest up. The backdrop is done reasonably well, but I thought the critics were way over the top in suggesting it was outstanding. (That Observer quote on the cover is ridiculous. A friend of the author perhaps?)

The supporting characters are a believable lot, though I would have liked to seen more attention paid to some of them. The main baddie, for example, kind of makes guest appearances only, popping up from time to time to no great effect.

The closing chapters are a step up from some of the middle where the fizz went out of the tension at times. Overall, pretty good stuff.

There is more to come from Waits and here’s hoping this reasonably promising start is a true hint of better things ahead.