Sirens by Joseph Knox is published in hardback by Doubleday, priced £12.99 (ebook £7.99). Available January 12
So short and dramatic has Joseph Knox written the chapters in his debut crime thriller, you’ll lose hours at night allowing yourself to read ‘just one more’. Page-turner is the only word for it.
We meet our narrator, Detective Constable Aidan Waits in a brief, but intriguing prologue, that serves as a framing device for his reminiscences about the previous November. “I couldn’t have explained the girls, the women, who had briefly entered my life. Briefly changed it.”
Waits is an anti-hero of sorts – damaged by a childhood in care, disgraced and suspended for stealing drugs from evidence lockers, he’s given one last shot at redemption by Superintendent Parrs and sent undercover on a suicide mission to feed information to drugs kingpin Zain Carver, so the force can flush out a mole.
He eases himself into the role, hanging out at Carver’s seedy bars in Manchester, high on speed, but when a high-profile MP asks him to keep an eye on his teenage daughter Isabelle, who he meets at Carver’s notorious parties, things start taking a more sinister turn.
Posh kids start dying from bad drugs – and signs point to the resurgence of the Burnsiders, who could have killed Carver’s old flame 10 years before.
The ‘sirens’ Waits is drawn to aren’t fleshed out nearly enough, compared to the huge cast of men, and serve as little more than expendable gangster’s molls, but it’s a cleverly plotted and convincing read.