Sunday, 6 February 2011

Beneath London’s Mean Streets

When seventeen year old straight A student Megan Carver missing persons investigator David Raker is called in by her distraught parents after the police investigation has hit a dead end. Megan, he soon discovers is no run of the mill teenage runaway, her disappearance is linked to a brutally inventive serial killer with connections to the Russian mafia.

Despite weighing in at over five hundred pages The Dead Line is the sort of book where not a single word or opportunity to set the reader’s nerves on edge goes to waste. Weaver uses of London’s seedier neighbourhoods and the city’s long and bloody criminal history to brilliant effect, sending Raker not just down the capital’s mean streets but into its fairly nasty (physical) underworld too.

The plot is relentlessly inventive and even though some of the violence may be a little strong for some tastes it is seldom gratuitous. In David Raker Weaver has created a suitable conflicted hero, tortured by grief for his dead wife and the endless round of misery associated with his job he is also, as events prove, a little too like the man he is hunting for comfort.

Understandably given the similarity of their subject matter comparisons have been drawn between Tim Weaver and Mo Hayder, this is mostly fair, although Weaver’s voice is sufficiently distinctive for him to claim a place at the top table of British crime writing in his own right.
The Dead Tracks
Tim Weaver
(Penguin, 2011)
Shots, Thursday 3rd February 2011.

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