Published January 2014
A man is burnt alive in a shed.
No witnesses, no fingerprints – only a positive ID of the victim as an immigrant with a long list of enemies.
Detectives Zigic and Ferreira are called in from the Hate Crimes Unit to track the killer, and are met with silence in a Fenland community ruled by slum racketeers, people-trafficking gangs and fear.
The clock is ticking.
But nobody wants to talk.
This is a pretty exceptional perceptive crime read, full of intricate descriptions and wonderful dialogue. It is hard to believe that it is the first novel by Eva Dolan.
The story is set in Peterborough, present day, and features Zigic and Ferreira who work at the Hate Crimes Unit. We get to know Peterborough, with its poverty, migrant communities and racist undertones. Slowly we see how the landscape of a town has changed and the social problem of migrants (legal and illegal), that we so often hear about, has a very human face. Dolan uses the migrant workers and their gang masters, as a backdrop for murder. We get to see how the gang masters make life literally hell for their slaves. The story begins with a suburban shed being burnt down and a body discovered.
I found myself getting very fond of DI Zigic and wanting to know more about him. Ferreira less so.
There is nothing better than a gritty dark crime read, which presents the worst aspects of our society for scrutiny. I hope we get many more novels by Eva Dolan in the future.