Chris Simms’ John Spicer is one of the crime fiction genre’s most captivating, thrilling and well-rounded creations and is one that deserves far more plaudits than he currently receives. In his seventh outing – Sleeping Dogs – Spicer is despatched to the Ireland and comes face-to-face with an adversary that is every bit as duplicitous, twisted and downright nasty as they get.
Yet what Simms truly masters – and are just two of many reasons why his books should be read – are, firstly, the ability to impose a characterisation to his settings and makes them living, breathing personifications that add a depth and edginess to proceedings that is awe inspiring.
Secondly, the pace of Sleeping Dogs is pretty much relentless, aided and abetted by some slick dialogue which creates an air of intrigue all of its own and so catapults the plot – and its necessary gory violence – into a league of its very own.
Spicer is flawed, unavoidably so, but the way in which Simms manages to create difficulties and the way in which the Detective Inspector manages to extricate himself from a good many of them, but never all, is testament to author’s fabulously tuned grip on the credible and so makes Sleeping Dogs every bit as enjoyable as its six predecessors.