Thursday, 1 April 2021

Streets of Darkness - A A Dhand


Bradford is burning.  A A Dhand knows how to set the clock running and amp up the tension.  Detective Harry Virdee is on his early morning run when he finds the crucified man - a pillar of the Asian community, hugely wealthy and the winner of last night's Parliamentary by-election.  Race was the issue in the election - the city was stuffed with BNP activists.  And now Shakeel Ahmed has been murdered in the most brutal, blasphemous way.  Today is Eid.  The Asian community will be celebrating.  The BNP is planning to march...

Harry is suspended but his boss gives him a career-saving mission - to find notorious racist headcase Lucas Dwight, recently released after serving fourteen years - the only nutcase mad enough for a murder like this.  Meanwhile, Harry's wife is about to give birth and wants to celebrate Eid properly.

This is a fascinating read, the best launch of a crime series I've read in ages.  Bradford is Dhand's city, this is his community.  Everything rings true.  Harry is Sikh but has married outside the community - Saima, his wife, is Muslim.  For that, both families have rejected them - all except Harry's businessman brother Ronnie, with whom he shares a dark secret.  The other characters are striking - Dwight, the boxer with a murderous liver punch, has changed in prison.  Taxi driver Bashir Iqbal, ostensibly Dwight's counterpoint in the Asian community, is truly terrifying.  The pace is relentless, the tension at times overwhelming.  You wonder, how much more twisted can this get?  Edge of the seat time.

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