Thursday, July 11, 2013
Review: A DARK REDEMPTION, by Stav Sherez
Well, this one's definitely going to end up on my best list this year.
A Dark Redemption is a gripping, gritty and violent mystery set in contemporary London involving an African warlord, the phenomenon of child soldiers and a secret in the past of Detective Jack Carrigan, one of two investigators assigned to the case of Grace Okele, a Ugandan student found dead and mutilated in her London flat. His partner, Geneva Miller, has been assigned to him as a kind of spy, to keep an eye on his work and report back to her superior. Their relationship forms of the core of the story, which takes Carrigan back to his student days, a tragic vacation to Uganda with his friends Ben and David, and more deaths.
Ben and Jack have kept in touch over the years, though their friendship strains under the weight of their shared trauma and the fact that Ben is married to the love of Jack's life, Olivia. Their idyllic family life contrasts with Carrigan's self-imposed solitude. Why do detectives always have to be bitter single men? Actually they don't; in the book I'm reading now, Summertime All the Cats Are Bored, the detective is married with two kids. But I digress. Carrigan is a more typical example of the slightly misanthropic bitter loner. He doesn't trust Miller and he shouldn't, but she warms to Carrigan and they have a very Mulder and Scully vibe which I liked.
That aside, it's a great book. It's very suspenseful, full of twists and turns, and offers a satisfying ending. Carrigan isn't perfect; he makes a couple of bonehead moves like not telling Ben when pictures of Ben's kids show up to indicate they're being stalked but you shouldn't worry too much about that. I loved how the issue of the child soldiers added urgency and tragedy to the story; I like it when crime writers bring up social issues and problems and weave them into their page-turning plots. It makes the books more than just light entertainments; I learn something, too.
Anyway I loved this book. The next book in the Carrigan/Miller series, Eleven Days, is out in the UK now and will be out here next year, but I'm not going to wait. When I go to London this fall I'm going to be sure to pick it up, and I strongly recommend crime readers pick up A Dark Redemption as soon as possible!
This is my 12th book for the 2013 Europa Challenge.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Europa Editions.