20) Girl Zero by A A Dhand
Back into police procedural land, and into the world of A A Dhand and his creation, Harry Virdee. The world in question is Bradford, which makes a refreshing change from London or, at a push, Edinburgh, where I often feel like most fictional crime in the UK seems to take place. This isn’t Dhand’s first book, so I’m arriving mid-series here, but it was easy to catch up and Virdee is an interesting lead – at the centre of a family with Muslim-Hindu complexities, and a good-evil axis at its heart.
I struggled a bit with the plot that spiralled out from the murder of Harry’s niece into something much more complex, of much bigger scale, and that started to involve everything from terrorism to child paedophile gangs to drug gang killings. Having said that, it is certainly action-packed (indeed, fairly violent) and it rattles along at high pace – whether I believed wholly in the action or not at times, the pages were a blur.
The strongest elements of the book, or those with a greater authenticity and truth, were actually the sections involving Harry’s family, his wife and son, and his relationship with his parents. There are several moving scenes which add real depth and poignancy to the characters, and are involving in a way that the action cannot always match. It’s these sections, and the strength of the characters, that means I may well come back to the series and see what happens next to Harry Virdee and his family.
BUY IT NOW: Girl Zero (D.I. Harry Virdee Book 2)