The story is set in a not-too-distant (one hopes) semi-dystopian future, where a post-Brexit mess has divided the UK into several newly named areas. For those interested, our base is in a very wet Anglia, which has become sodden because of rising sea levels. It is adjacent to New Mercia, where some more of the story takes place. Readers living in those areas will find it interesting how the author utilises his knowledge of the area to flower up the tale – and might also make locals wonder ‘what if’ the country DID split up. Cartmel really gives some deep and considered thought to ‘his’ concept of a broken-up Britain.
Our heroine is a private eye (a term that I, as a former representative of private investigators know they absolutely despise) who is engaged by a shady east European to find some missing diamonds. PI Steff explores Anglia, new Mercia and Antwerp in her efforts to find out what happened, and suffice to say there are incidents that pepper her enquiries, all of which lead her back home to that unexpected denouement.
There is some great character development, but rather than shove it all in our faces from page one the author drip-feeds us so that what we need to know appears only when we need to know it – but not in a ‘ooh, I just thought of that’ fashion, it is all very carefully considered. The relationships between the characters are similarly explored and are quite enjoyable to discover.
All in all a good read, written considerately, carefully and cleverly by the author of the Brexit thriller Sabretooth.