A security officer is assassinated.
A small child grieves for his father.
A psychopath commits their first crime…
A frightened Russian woman seeks DCI Hanlon’s help in finding her missing husband. Hanlon’s not keen on the case. Until she hears a name she recognises only too well. Arkady Belanov, sadistic owner of an exclusive brothel in Oxford is involved.
And when DCI Enver Demirel, her former partner and friend, disappears, Hanlon is determined to solve the case.
Forced into an uneasy alliance with the London underworld, the race to him from the blood-stained hands of the Russian mafia is underway…
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
This is an edgy and exciting series. Hanlon sidelined from the vibrant Metropolitan police arena, still attracts danger and responds with gritty determination. Best read chronologically this is a memorable series.
Working in a missing persons’ unit Hanlon conflicts violently with the Russian mafia. Whilst not having the team dynamic of the first two books, it retains its contemporary focus, strong characters and suspense.
Hanlon edges closer to self destruct yet manages to be an effective investigator. I am looking forward to the final book in this series.
Extract from The Missing Husband – Alex Coombs
Claudia Liebig looked at the young boy’s picture. Serg was frowning hard in concentration as he drew. In five years of teaching Claudia had never met such an intense child. Everything Serg did was coloured with the same remorseless focus.
Claudia had rebelled against the tenets of her art school, which was ultra-liberal, focused on the idea that theory was as important, or maybe more so, as technique. Claudia disagreed and here at the small, international private school near Alexanderplatz in central Berlin where she was the art teacher, figurative work featured highly. By all means, she said, be abstract, but before you do me a series of coloured rectangles or Cubist faces, or before you display an everyday object as art, show me you can paint like Mondrian, Picasso or Duchamp could.
Today her pupils were drawing their parents at work. Desks and rudimentary offices were the main themes – most of the parents worked in offices and some of the children’s parents were in TV, so there was a smattering of cameras and monitors depicted in the paintings.
Serg was drawing some tanks; they looked scarily real. She admired them.
‘T-80s,’ said Serg. He spoke flawless German even though Russian was his mother tongue.
He had an amazing vocabulary too, thought Claudia. Teachers shouldn’t have favourites, but they do. Serg was hers. Despite being Russian. Not a popular thing to be in Nineties Berlin.
‘That’s nice,’ said Claudia. Serg bowed his head over his painting, colouring in the tanks battleship-grey. ‘Are they good tanks?’ Serg lifted his head and looked steadily at her with his startlingly green eyes. He was a child of almost unearthly beauty, thought Claudia, like his mother.
‘My father says that remains to be seen.’
‘Is that your father in the tank?’ Claudia pointed to the picture.
Serg shook his head and indicated a figure in a jeep. It was astonishingly well drawn. Claudia had met Serg’s dad once, rumoured to be head of the FSB, the former KGB, at the Russian Berlin embassy, the Stalinist-style palace in the Unter den Linden, in the heart of the city. She could recognize his powerful bull-like neck and physique, the angry energy that the hunched figure seemed to radiate.
‘That’s him,’ Serg said.
Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.