Genre: Police Procedural/Suspense
“Don’t waste your time, he’s just another dead junkie.
That’s what Detective Inspector Solomon Gray is told when the body of a junkie is found. But Gray recognises the junkie’s name – an old school friend of his daughter. The trouble is, drug users are the underclass, who cares about them? Investigations are brief and the deaths ruled accidental, the people are soon forgotten and life moves on.
Soon, Gray learns there’s a new gang in town, quietly supplanting the previous channel. Albanians, well known for their brutality, run by the vicious Leka Krisniqi, work by fear and intimidation, making it near impossible for Gray to break in. Word from the street is Krisniqi’s gang are killing anyone remotely suspected of working with the police, spiking drugs with enough contaminant, just the weight of a snowflake, to ensure the user is dead the moment the narcotics enter their body.
And Gray gets a call from an old foe, Sylvia – she was PA to Gray’s deceased and disgraced boss and ex-friend. Sylvia’s husband has gone missing. Early one morning he upped and left with just the clothes on his back and hasn’t been seen since. However, Gray isn’t keen to help, one missing man who’s walked out on someone he doesn’t much like hardly seems important when compared to a spate of murders.
Eventually, Gray finds someone who just may be able to help, a street dealer called E. But she’s afraid for her own life and that of her family. But first Gray must do something for her…”
“Keith Nixon is the best selling author of fourteen novels, including the Margate based Solomon Gray series with 200,000 copies in circulation and reached no.1 on Amazon in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.
Keith lived near the gritty seaside town of Margate, where all his novels are based, for 17 years before relocating to the edge of the Peak District with his family where he lives today.”
Even though a typical police procedural series like this one or whatever others you’ve read typically have books that stand alone with the same main character or characters, but a new case each time, the Solomon Gray series, while mostly fitting that pattern, had one issue that was always in the background. That was a situation where those who hadn’t been with the series from the beginning might not fully grasp. But that issue came to an apparent resolution in the last volume, so this story was fully focused on the current case or situation.
A former junkie becomes not-so-former and overdoses. That Gray knew the deceased as a kid gets his attention. Then he realizes that his area has seen a large increase in the number of junkies dying from overdoses and he starts digging into this when he wonders why. As you might expect, the answers aren’t pretty, and getting to the bottom of this is an adventure. Part of that is that not everyone is playing for the side Gray thought they were. I’m a long-time fan of police procedurals and the Solomon Gray series has been one of my favorites in recent years. This installment continues that streak.
Some adult language.
Uses UK spelling conventions and slag.
The version of the book I read was a pre-release ARC, so I can’t judge the final
version in this regard.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 50-55,000 words