Author – Hanna Jameson
Published – Dec 2012
Genre – Crime fiction
This was a review copy I received from the kind people at @HoZ_Books and, like most of the other books I read, I didn’t look at the blurb until I had finished. Which means that while I was going to say “great crime thriller” I now have to say “what an astonishing debut”, because I now know that Jameson was only 17 when she wrote this! Yes – 17! I was lucky if I could manage to write an entry in my diary at that age.
The main character is Nic Caruana (pronounced like marijuana) and he’s a fixer in London’s underworld. He’s a private investigator who finds people and exacts revenge, he tracks people down and he makes them pay. To him it’s just a job of work, something he’s good at that earns him a living.
He’s been employed by arms dealer Pat Dyer to find his missing 16-year-old daughter, but very quickly it becomes clear that what Nic will actually need to do is track down her killer (or killers). Nic’s investigation isn’t straightforward, however, as he’s distracted by a growing obsession with Dyer’s wife. He finds himself drawn into the family’s problems which he’s ill-prepared to deal with.
There are some sub-plots in which Nic has to deal with some of his other clients and these provide one or two lighter moments as well as some gory ones. It also gives us an insight into his relationship with his flatmate who also pursues a similar line of work.
The story features the seedy side of London – clubs with dodgy characters, squats with drug-taking teens. It also features some truly gruesome moments although they are delivered in the context of the story there were some things that I never wanted to read or picture!!
While Nic might be an anti-hero, he is a very likeable one. He comes across as lacking a conscience, but during the course of the book his morals are tested and you begin to see that there is perhaps a different side to him.
This really is a very good read – another book that’s more “crime thriller” than “crime fiction” and would be a remarkable debut, even if the author wasn’t just 17 when she wrote it. In hindsight there are perhaps some clues to the age of the author – the great number of characters that are teens, early twenties, and perhaps a better understanding of them than their parents. There were one or two aspects of the story that felt a little out of place. It’s possible that these will either be resolved in the future books in the series, or perhaps it’s a little naivety on the part of the author – time will tell. And the good news is that this is “London Underground #1” so there are more on the way – which I am really pleased about.
A dark and gripping crime thriller that I can thoroughly recommend.
Score – 4/5