AUTHOR: STUART NEVILLE
Details: no. 3 Belfast Thriller
Galya is a girl from Ukraine, tricked into coming to Ireland with promises of a good job, she found herself slaving on a mushroom farm before she was taken into Belfast to be groomed into becoming a hooker.
When a Lithuanian gangster tries to force himself on her in order to “break her in”, she kills him and shortly afterwards finds herself on the run from his friends who want their revenge. Afraid and in a city where she knows nothing and no-one her only hope is the man with the cross, who gave her his phone number. Little does Galya know that her only hope is to turn into her worst nightmare.
Detective Inspector Jack Lennon was hoping to have a quiet Christmas with his daughter when he’s put in charge of the case of a murdered Lithuanian man. When three other men are also murdered, it seems that Jack may have a war between rival gangs on his hands. However, it isn’t long before Jack finds himself looking for the girl who is rumoured to have murdered the first man, unaware that others are looking for her too and that forces very close to him are determined to stop him from solving his case at all cost.
This is a more conventional thriller than its two predecessors in so far that the political issues connected with Northern Ireland play only a background role at best. In this book we are firmly in the territory of the sex-trade, a serial killer and powerful enemies.
In this book there is never a question as to who he bad guys are. The big thriller is how both the girl and Jack will manage to overcome those out to get them. With the odds firmly stacked against both of them, it appears that it will take a miracle for either or both of them to survive.
I enjoyed this thriller. Galya was a wonderful character, easy to identify and sympathise with. Jack Lennon is a flawed man, but also a man well aware of his flaws and doing his best to overcome them in order to be a good father to the daughter he denied for so long and maybe even find a chance at love.
Stuart Neville appears to have no illusions when it comes to the lengths people are prepared to go to when it comes to protecting their own interests and lifestyles, and although I would like to think that he is wrong in that respect, I can’t help thinking that it is probably true for a lot of people.
As with the previous books by this author, I read it with mixed emotions. The story is great, well plotted and a true page-turner. On the other hand, the selfishness, cruelty and indifference of a lot of characters in the books sound so true to life that it makes them hard to stomach at times. Having said that, I am by this stage well and truly hooked on this series, and am already looking forward to my next outing with Jack Lennon.