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William Landay

Batnam Press £10.99

Reviewed by Ayo Onatade

Mission Flats is a dark debut novel by an assistant district attorney who has used an area that he knows well to write a dark and absorbing novel. When a gruesome and decomposing bodying is found in a holiday cabin in Versailles, Maine it belies Police Chief Ben Truman's thought that nothing ever happens. The fact that the body belongs to a prosecutor who was in the midst of investigating a series of gang related murders in the city makes the Police Chief wonder why the body was found in such a small town. A result of which the murder catches everybody's attention. Furthermore, Truman believes that he should be investigating the matter and is not happy about the fact that he is being asked to leave the investigation to others. Things are not as straightforward as that and everything appears to lead back to some earlier bungled police raids in Versailles and Truman's own kin.
Mission Flats is an excellent debut novel from the first page with its shocking beginning and its portrayal of inner-city crime dens, to the end where decisions are made that will have repercussions for all and sundry. Landay has written a first rate harrowing urban novel and has also made excellent use of locality. This is a fast-paced novel, which will stay with you for some time after you have finished reading it. Powerful, engrossing and disturbing Mission Flats is well worth taking the time to read.