Mark Sanderson does for the '30s what Jake Arnott did for '60s London – vividly revealing its hidden underworld in an unforgettably gripping crime novel.
"Friday, 18 December, 1936. I went to my funeral this morning…." So begins the diary of Johnny Steadman, an ambitious reporter on London's Fleet Street. When he gets a tip-off about a Snow Hill policeman's death, he thinks he's found the scoop that will make his career. Trouble is, no-one at the station seems to know anything about it...or they're not telling.
Johnny's one lead takes him to the meat market at Smithfield, where he encounters violent death close up and personal. Undaunted by this chilling message, his investigation drags him deep into a web of corruption that reaches further than he could ever have imagined.
Johnny must risk everything to save his closest friend and expose the ruthless killer at the heart of this dark story. But to bring them to justice he must first go undercover. Six feet undercover. After all, a dead man cannot be tried for murder….
While this is set in 1936, there are too many references that didn't appear until after 1950, and much later. Careless.
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Jonathan Keeble is an excellent narrator and I would definitely look for him again. He managed to give distinctive voices to many different characters.
Speaking of characters, there are some good ones in this book and overall, I enjoyed it. There are enough twists and turns to the plot to keep one guessing for a little while at least.
What let it down for me was the "bad guy," who is over the top. Without giving away any of the plot, I am more intrigued by fairly average people who perpetrate crimes and the exploration thereof rather than truly evil beings.
As a head's up for those who, like me, have a low threshold of tolerance for cruelty, the story explores the world of male prostitutes and there is brutality and violence involved.