Streets of Darkness, by A. A. Dhand, introduces the reader to Detective Harry Virdee, a man who, it seems, will do whatever it takes to bring criminals to justice. At the beginning of the story we learn that he has recently been suspended from his job pending an investigation by the IPCC. He is trying to keep this fact hidden from his wife, Saima, who is due to give birth to their first child.
While out for an early morning run Harry discovers the body of an eminent, local public figure. The crime scene points towards a motive of race. Blood from a recently released prisoner is found in the victim’s home. With Harry’s boss less than a week from retirement he wishes to wrap up the case quickly before the volatile public in this run down, ethnically diverse city react. Knowing that Harry has secretive contacts he asks for his assistance, off the record, in finding the suspect and bringing him in.
What Harry discovers is a web of obfuscation within the criminal underworld. He begins to suspect a set up but, if this is so, the motive is unclear. With time of the essence he realises that whoever is directing events has leveridge within the highest echelons of power in his city. Their reach is wide, encompassing those Harry believed he could trust. Harry ignores their repeated warnings and pays the price. These shadowy figures will stop at nothing to achieve their aims.
This is edge of your seat writing. There are twists and tension aplenty but it is the character development that impressed. Harry is a Sikh married to a Muslim, both estranged from their families for the choices they have made. The fundamentalism of the religious is frustrating to read but aids understanding of issues that so often make little sense.
The denouement left me gasping. The questions left to ponder were not around plot, which is satisfactorily concluded, but rather what is meant by justice and its cost. The author has set the stage for what I hope will be a series. Harry Virdee and his Bradford deliver an outstanding read.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Bantam Press.