Joe Clayton was an undercover police officer in the UK, forced out of his job when a job went badly wrong, separated from his wife and children due to the complexities of the situation and pursued by the brother of a man he killed, who in turn has sworn to destroy him.
Clayton is living in hiding in Bristol, just trying to stay one step ahead. Somehow his cover is blown and he only just evades capture, needing somewhere to lie low for a while. He heads for a small town in Cornwall, where an old colleague, now deceased, and his wife retired to run a B & B. Joe doesn’t quite receive the welcome he expected, and soon finds out that there are strange goings on in the town, which is run as a virtual police state in the iron grip of one man.
When Joe becomes involved in a missing persons case whilst trying not to blow his cover, he gets pulled deeper and deeper into the dark underbelly of the town’s secrets.
This is Tom Bale’s fourth book, including the first written in his real name, David Harrison. it is the second outing for Joe Clayton. It’s set in a fictional cornish town which is well described and could easily exist, apart from its virtual police state existence by which it is run. The general ‘baddie’ is a guy called Leon Race, a typical ex-council estate hoodie, gone off the rails but hauled himself up into a shining example of ‘down and out come good’.
The town is run with an iron fist by Race’s security patrols, and there are no crimes to speak of, no litter, no anti-social behaviour of any kind. Indeed in our country of today people might find this rather enticing!
Bale describes the action very well and keeps the pace up as the novel moves forward at a decent pace. Its a very good idea for a plot that I at first found possibly a little far fetched but then chided myself for that as this is indeed fiction, and something a little new should be encouraged. I thought the characters were well put together and all in all I thought it was an excellent read at 450 pages long, with a surprising twist that is hard to see coming.
I hadn’t read any of Bale/Harrison’s before but I’ll be checking them out now, and I’d recommend this to anyone who wants a decent page turner to read in a week or so. He has a new website which is well worth a look as well.