Synopsis: After the death of his son in a freak accident, DI Harlan Miller’s life is spiralling out of control. He’s drinking too much. His marriage and career are on the rocks. But things are about to get even worse. A booze-soaked night out and a single wild punch leave a man dead and Harlan facing a manslaughter charge.
Fast-forward four years. Harlan’s prison term is up, but life on the outside holds little promise. Divorced, alone, consumed with guilt, he thinks of nothing beyond atoning for the death he caused. But how do you make up for depriving a wife of her husband and two young boys of their father? Then something happens, something terrible, yet something that holds out a twisted kind of hope for Harlan – the dead man’s youngest son is abducted.
From that moment Harlan’s life has only one purpose – finding the boy. So begins a frantic race against time that leads him to a place darker than anything he experienced as a policeman and a stark moral choice that compels him to question the law he once enforced.
My Rating: 4/5
My Review: This book is one that has been on my `to read’ list for a while and for some reason kept getting pushed to the back of the pile. Thankfully, I got myself organised and dug out all the stuff I have been meaning to read and I am very glad that I did.
I read so many crime, thriller and mystery books that it’s hard to see where one ends and another begins. Typically, I have my favourite authors that never seem to fail, and the writers that have been producing books for years that never seem to fail. However, there is nothing nicer than coming across a new author who you have never heard of that actually produces the goods. Thankfully, Ben Cheetham is one of them.
We meet Harlan who is having a very hard time with his life. He is a D.I whose life seems to be spiralling following the death of his son in an accident. His marriage is in danger of finishing and on a lonely night out drinking the worst thing happens. Harlan gets into a fight and a single wild punch leaves a man dead. I think the shocking thing is that from the outset you feel sorry for Harlan, and when he ends up killing a man there is a certain element of fear, because it can all to easily happen.
The story moves forward four years and follows Harlan upon his release from prison. His life is a mess and he is now divorced and spending his days alone and living with the guilt of killing a man and depriving two children of their father and a woman of her husband. One event soon changes everything and pretty soon Harlan’s life holds meaning. He has a challenge to meet and will do everything in his power to get the results he wants.
I admit, I read the first half of this book in one sitting. I just wasn’t prepared for a book as good and as fast paced as this one. The pace picks up at the halfway point and there are enough twists in the story to keep you hooked. There is a certain element of predictability about it, but I find that very few books out there manage to not have it!
This may well have been my first Ben Cheetham but I can assure you it won’t be my last. I am really looking forward to reading more stuff by this author and think this was a brilliant first book for me!