Friday, 1 April 2016

Vendetta by Dreda Say Mitchell

Reviewer: Catriona Troth

What We Thought: When Mac wakes up next to the dead body of a woman who has been shot through the head, he knows he is in big trouble. He is a ‘naked cop’, deep undercover with a gang of international arms smugglers. But is he back in the field far too soon after the death of his young son?

DI Rio Wray is not a woman to be messed with – especially when she is forced to turn up at a crime scene still dressed for her mate’s hen party.

Both are hunting the same murderer, but from such opposite extremes of law enforcement they seem more like enemies than old friends.

Mitchell’s Vendetta is packed into little more than 24 hours, and covers ground that would have been familiar to Dickens’ Inspector Bucket – peeling back the gentrification of places like St Katherine’s Dock to reveal the criminality still lurking underneath.

Mac and Rio snag our sympathies. We get a hint of the prejudices Rio has overcome as a black, female police officer. But Rio needs no pity from anyone. As for Mac, some of Mitchell’s best writing comes when he relives the death of his son, and when he interacts with Milos, a young boy of the same age, caught in a complex crossfire of adult vengeance and retribution.

A high octane thriller with plenty of brutal violence from the start, but one that explores the nature of loyalty, both in the police world and in its flip side – the world of criminal gangs.

You’ll enjoy this if you loved: The Waiting Game by Sheila Bugler, Entry Island by Peter May

Avoid if you dislike: A rollercoaster of violent action, morally questionable police characters

Perfect Accompaniment: Blinis with sour cream, a shot of vodka.

Genre: Crime

Available from Amazon

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