I really enjoyed this police procedural set in Peterborough which is part of a series I’ve often read before. Zigic and Ferreira are the detectives looking for a killer when young student Jordan is shot dead walking home from watching football at a club. The club is for men who worked at Greenaway’s factory, but the factory is long gone and so are the jobs. This left skilled engineers consigned to the scrap heap in their fifties – an age where getting new employment is very difficult. The club lingers on as a reminder and is still frequented by a group of men bonded together due to their shared experience, with a lot of bitterness and anger remaining. So what was a young man like Jordan doing there and how had he ended up shot in the back of the head, execution style, close to the Parkway on his shortcut home?
The story line grabbed me straight away, possibly because my family are working class enough to have experienced what these men have gone through, but in the mining and steel manufacturing industries. I’ve seen what it does to a man to leave him unemployed near retirement age. Jordan really stood out as one of the good guys in life, using his writing to stand up to big business and expose corruption. Of course we only experience him through his deeds and other people’s impressions of him, but that’s enough for me to feel he was ambitious to be a journalist, but also had some integrity. He wanted to do the job to write the big stories, not doorstep celebrities or cover fun days for the local paper. He’d already been published in the Big Issue, the piece that told the stories of the men at the club and the reason he knew and bonded with them. He’d shown how their mental health suffered after redundancy, that many had lost their wives and families too, some had even lost the roof over their heads. The fact that he’d stayed in contact with these men, tells the detectives that the club is the best place to start investigating.
There are three stories that Jordan was working on with the potential to ruffle important feathers. One is about a social care company attached to a woman called Sheila Yule, but she is very wary of even speaking to the police and appears scared. Then there’s the death of the owner of Greenaway’s, in a helicopter crash. It had been ruled an accident but could Jordan have found out otherwise? Finally, he was looking into a housing development on the outskirts of the city, where Ferreira had almost bought a flat. Any one of these stories would have made this an interesting book, so to give us all three was generous and created a few red herrings along the way. There were so many leads to follow that the pace never let up and the story never flagged. All three stories were right up my street politically, so I really enjoyed delving into the detail and the thinking Jordan would have gone through when researching. All the undercurrents of deprivation, corruption, the collusion of big business and local politics couldn’t have been more timely and they fit perfectly with how I see the world.
There were some great bits of character revealed in Ferreira and Zigic’s home lives. Ferreira’s competitive streak comes out when her partner, and fellow police officer, wants to have his hunch on the case confirmed. The next minute they’re bantering about paint colours and wallpaper. The comical scene of Zigic and his wife clearing out his wardrobe was eerily familiar and very funny. These are the lives they go back to after working long hours and it was enjoyable to see those glimpses of their home selves. Both Zigic and Ferreira have a conviction to see justice done and hate being told what they can and can’t investigate from higher up. In this case, high ranking police officers being too cosy with local councillors and big business in the area. Ferreira is slightly more reckless and I love how she takes things into her own hands at the end. I like her fire and her need to get to the truth – whoever is involved. There are twists I didn’t expect, but I was glad of them, because they changed an outcome I was struggling to accept. This was solid, intelligent, crime writing with a lot of heart and a social conscience so I enjoyed it immensely.
Meet The Author
Eva Dolan was shortlisted for the CWA Dagger for unpublished authors when only a teenager. The four novels in her Zigic and Ferreira series have been published to widespread critical acclaim: Tell No Tales and After You Die were shortlisted for the Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year Award and After You Die was also longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger. She lives in Cambridge.