We first meet Jack Carrigan as a promising young musician on a post graduation holiday in Africa with three friends. Driving at night in Uganda, unsure of their route, they encounter a rebel force drunk on drugs and their own cruelty. We next see Jack, years later, now an inspector with the Metropolitan police. The two survivors of the incident meet regularly but are unable to discuss what occurred until Jack begins to investigate the murder of a renowned African woman who was studying at the London School of African and Oriental Studies. Carrigan has become a loner, unpopular with his colleagues because he is an expert at being the first detective at a crime scene to ensure that he will run the investigation. His work on this case takes on a terrible immediacy, pulling him into a London diaspora of rough communities, a largely invisible cauldron of illegal immigrants and fugitives. He discovers that the victim was researching the rise of African rebel groups and had discovered the hidden complicity of the current Ugandan government in a brutal campaign to silence dissent. Carrigan is soon caught between his obligation to follow the evidence wherever it leads and his superiors, concern that justice will not compensate for the potential costs to the British government. This combination of a bruising crime investigation competing against the hidden forces of powerful political and social interests makes for superior entertainment. The deeply satisfying mixture of memorable characters and urgent subject matter showcase a much-admired writer dancing deftly between the demands of a well composed procedural and artistic storytelling.
Stav Sherez is the author of The Devil’s Playground, shortlisted by the Crime Writers Association, and The Black Monastery. He spent five years as a music journalist, mainly for the cult music magazine Comes with a Smile. He has also written for the Daily Telegraph. He lives in London.