This is the second book in the Jim Clemo detective series but I did not read the first. It proved to be only a minor impediment. Jim is Detective Inspector in the Bristol, England Criminal Investigations Department. In the first book, he was apparently involved in a botched case in which a missing child died, and as this installment begins, he has just completed six months of therapy to help him deal with the loss.
His boss wants to give him an easy assignment to ease back into the job, and puts him in charge of a case which seems like a “small fry” or “minnow” case. In fact, as they soon found, it turned out to be “a shark.”
Two fifteen year olds were involved in an accident at the canal. Noah, a white upper-class boy with terminal cancer, is now in a coma. Abdi, his BFF and a Somali refugee, is prostate and won’t speak. Something happened there, and the stakes are huge because of all the anti-immigrant tension in the town. The press takes the low road, highlighting Noah’s cancer and Noah’s mom’s prejudice against Abdi. Clemo and his partner Woodley are under a lot of pressure to figure out what happened before events get beyond them.
Evaluation: The writing isn’t as smooth as it could be, but the pace and suspense are good. On the other hand, the characters conform a bit much to stereotypes, and for the most part lack depth. Nevertheless, I was engaged by the mystery, and wanted to find out what happened to the boys.
Published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2017