Genre: Crime Fiction, Mystery/Thriller
Sirens is the brooding and assured debut from Joseph Knox, the next big name in crime fiction.
Set in a sprawling, twilight northern city, Sirens introduces Aidan Waits, a disgraced young detective caught stealing drugs from evidence and subsequently blackmailed into going undercover. When an MP’s daughter runs away from home, Waits is sent to track her down and finds himself at the centre of a maelstrom of drugs, blackmail and deception.
Uncovering the motives of those involved, he’s thrown forwards through politicians, police and drug lords – towards a conclusion and a truth he really doesn’t want to know.
I am on a roll so far for 2017, I’ve read some seriously amazing books and this may be my favorite read of the year thus far. Yes, I know we’re only a few weeks into the new year, but I don’t think time will dull my feelings about Sirens, it is a stunning debut that knocked me off of me feet and as a new voice in crime fiction, Knox is a force to be reckoned with.
Aidan Waits is not your typical crime fiction protagonist, yes he’s a detective but he is no hero and he surely doesn’t want to be one either. His life is in shambles, both personally and professionally and he has made a mess of both sides beyond repair. There is no redemption here, he’s dug his own grave and I think that’s a big part of what made him so appealing to me. He literally has nothing to lose, he drinks and takes drugs with abandon and is on the fast track to death. Sirens opens with him being picked up out of the gutter if that gives you a sense of his situation. As damaged and destroyed as he is, I found myself drawn to him. He’s dark, brooding and sullen, but there is something buried deep inside him that is whole and good and that part really spoke to me.
Often times crime fiction is described as dark and gritty, but Sirens almost redefines those words. The city of Manchester provides a perfect backdrop for the plot, its bleak atmosphere adds to the dangerous and deadly criminal underworld. I’m not going to discuss the plot here at all, but Knox is a superbly talented writer and this book is paced absolutely perfectly. I was utterly absorbed by every single page of this book and any crime fiction fans will not want to miss this massively admirable debut.
Overall rating: 5/5
Thanks to Alison Barrow for my review copy.