Tuesday 21 March 2023

A Silent Death

Finished March 20
A Silent Death by Peter May

This standalone thriller is set around a Scottish police officer, John Mackenzie. Mackenzie has always wanted to be a police officer because his father was one. Not that he really knew his father, who died when he was a child. Mackenzie is a man who is highly intelligent, always curious, and is unflinchingly direct. It is this last characteristic that has caused him the most trouble. It has caused him to be separated from his wife, with her having custody of their two young children, and has caused him to leave his job at the Met. 
As the book opens, he is just starting a new job at the National Crime Agency and is given the task of going to Spain to pick up a prisoner, Jack Cleland. Cleland has been a wanted man for some time, intelligent and wealthy before venturing into the world of international drug crime. His arrest in Spain was a bit of a fluke and opens the book. Cleland has declared vengeance against Christina Sanchez, one of the police officers who arrested him, and is a very dangerous man.
Christina has been fighting her superiors for some time, trying to get the respect and cases that her skills and abilities would normally get her, if she wasn't a woman. She took the assignment that netted Cleland as a favour to a fellow officer, and she soon finds that it was one of the biggest mistakes of her life.
Christina has a beloved aunt, Ana, that she and her sister visit regularly. Ana is deaf and blind, both disabilities affecting her as a young woman. Technology has opened her world to some extent, but she is still often trapped by her limited senses. 
As Cleland escapes custody and looks for ways to exact his revenge on Christina, her family, including Ana, come into his plan. Mackenzie's skills make him a good investigator to assist in the hunt for Cleland, but his personality also means that his choices don't always lead him to make good decisions. 
The setting is a big part of the story, The town of Marvina, on the Costa del Sol, is a small enough place to navigate, with lots to interest tourists. As Mackenzie walks through the town and drives to locations in the nearby hills, we get a real sense of the landscape and the economic reality of the people who live there. 
A fascinating read, with an interesting and complex character at the centre of action. There is lots going on here and the story held my interest until the end. 

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