Jonah Colley is a police sergeant working for the Met’s firearms unit. He’s not the happiest soul – as one too often finds with many of the police procedural books currently being written. But then, he doesn’t have much in his life to be happy about. He’s merely been existing day to day for the past 10 years, ever since his 4-year-old son Theo disappeared on his watch. Colley had taken him to the park to play, but while Theo was on a roundabout, Jonah dozed off on a bench and when he awoke, Theo was gone.
Colley’s marriage to the already unhappy Chrissie disintegrated, and what had been a solid friendship with colleague Gavin McKinney was also unable to withstand the pressure, and that too fell by the wayside. So Colley now lives a miserable, lonely life in a horrible (rather dodgy) apartment block and finds himself barely existing and still asking many questions about that fateful day when his son disappeared.
And then, suddenly one night, Jonah finds himself in a bar, drowning his sorrows with some colleagues when he receives an unexpected call from Gavin, who he hasn’t heard from for many years, begging desperately to meet with him. Jonah is so shocked – not only that Gavin has called him but that he’s asked him to come and meet up … at midnight … that very same night … at a place that has the sinister name of Slaughter Quay. Well, of course, he’s intrigued and as much as he originally thinks he’s not going to turn up, at midnight he finds himself lurking around the abandoned docks looking for his old friend.
What ensues from here sets Jonah on a trajectory that he never could have foreseen: dead bodies, a brutal attack that leaves him severely injured, and more unanswered questions than he could deal with in a lifetime. But the worst part of all is that it sets Jonah up as a suspect and he’s not even sure what he’s suspected of doing. DI Fletcher and DS Bennett are waiting for him when he wakes up in hospital and they’re not going to give up until they discover what he’s done. They’re mean, and they’re relentless from the second he opens his eyes, and they don’t believe a word that Jonah says!
This is a fast-paced, dark, edgy thriller with many twists and turns. Told in a split timeline between what happened 10 years previously around the time of Theo’s disappearance, and the present day, it’s not difficult at all to keep up with the two coinciding plots. The author manages to sustain the many complexities of the general storyline and just as you think it’s all running away with itself, he brings it all back together and ties it up quite neatly – but not so neatly that you think it’s too convenient!
I found Jonah to be quite a tragic character. His life is just sad and he lurches from one disaster to another, hoping that one day … some day … a lightbulb will suddenly appear and he’ll understand exactly what’s happened and how he’s landed up at this point. Beckett portrays him well. It frustrated me that he was more reactive than proactive, but most of the time I don’t think that he had a choice.
This is a recommended 4-star read. Thank you to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the Blog Tour.