Tenacity, by JS Law, is a searing thriller set within the confines and traditions of the Royal Navy. The pressure rises when the unstoppable force of a tenacious investigator meets the immovable object of naval comradeship on board a submarine. The claustrophobic drama which unfolds is breathtaking.
Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, Dan, has just returned to active duty with the Crimes Involving Loss of Life division after a year long sabbatical. She has cut herself off from friends and family in an effort to deal with the fallout from a case she had worked on involving a senior naval officer whom she had single-handedly unmasked as a serial killer. Despite the break, her demons continue to haunt her.
An old family friend who is also her boss calls to inform her that she is to investigate the suicide of a crew member who has hung himself on board the submarine on which he was serving. Although foul play is not suspected the case is complicated by the fact that his wife was viciously attacked and then murdered just days before the crew member took his own life. The wife’s murder is in the hands of the civilian police force and Dan is informed that, although mutual assistance is permitted, she must not become involved in their investigation. It is an order that she struggles with when she sees pictures of the young woman’s body with injuries that are hauntingly familiar.
Her own task is hampered by the unwillingness of the submarine crew to break ranks and talk to her. With the boat due to sail she determines to pursue the case from on board. It soon becomes apparent that being a lone and unwelcome woman, two hundred meters below the ocean’s surface in the overcrowded environment of a working nuclear submarine, puts her in danger with no chance of escape. Desperately she seeks allies, relying on her instincts to decide whom to trust.
The progression of the plot is relentless and compelling. The author brings to life the cramped conditions, the closeness of the crew and their need to work as a team. It is clear that Dan is in over her head in more ways than one. As the reader gasps for air amidst the resentment and derision, willing Dan to somehow survive the relentless verbal and then physical attacks, the action somehow ramps up a gear towards the blistering denouement.
This is a must read for fans of psychological crime thrillers. The unusual setting with its uncompromising laws of the sea make Dan’s lone pursuit of justice seem untenable. That the author produces such a believable and satisfying story in these circumstances is impressive. I do hope that we are offered a sequel.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline.