A former Customs and Police Officer, Andrew Hill is just putting the finishing touches to the first book in a crime series set in the New Forest, where he lived for 30 years. An avid reader across the crime genre and regular at Crimefest, he now lives in West Sussex and works in property.
When DC Max Wolfe and partner Edie Wren are called out to an abandoned lorry in London’s Chinatown on a cold winter’s morning; their first thoughts are of alarm and a possible Truck-Bomb. But upon opening the doors of the refrigerated lorry they find eleven dead illegal immigrants, and one dying (and they are all female).
The mystery deepens when thirteen passports are found inside the cab; but who was the driver, and where is the thirteen woman?
What evolves is a multi-layered story that involves people-smuggling for the sex trade, Chinese Triads, and a well-known London crime family (of three generations).
When Max and Edie get a lead that takes them to a migrant camp in France, the author takes you on a depressingly realistic tour. He conveys the desperation, filth, squalor and wretched living conditions with an unflinching eye; coupled to the viciousness of the organised gangs involved in people smuggling for the sex-trade.
I kept turning the pages wanting to find out who ‘Mr Click-Click’ was. What happened to the surviving girl? What is the story behind old time long-firm fraudster and grandfather Paul Warboys, his son Barry and grandson Steve (who both run legitimate businesses)? The reader also ponders as to where the Chinese Triads fit into all of this?
Like a complicated jigsaw puzzle, the author slickly takes you to the edges, fleshing out the middle and then leads you to the climax that contains a startling flourish.
This is a well-crafted story, shining a light on a contemporary problem that isn’t going to go away. If you had any doubt that our species have a venal and sociopathic nature, then this book will swiftly disabuse you of that as it reveals the darkness within the human condition hidden beneath the veneer of our society.