Girl Zero – A. A. Dhand (Harry Virdee #2)


Girl Zero is published on 13 July 2017 by Transworld and is available to buy here

There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them. For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.

His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.

But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react. Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn’t careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.

Book 1 in the series is reviewed here Streets of Darkness – A. A. Dhand

My thoughts

Streets of Darkness brought dark edgy and gritty Bradford noir to the forefront. My favourite Bradfordian Detective Inspector Harry Virdee is back in Girl Zero.

Harry Virdee is a non practising Sikh police officer, working the streets of Bradford. He is married to a Muslim woman, Saima, and he is now a father. His marriage has led to estrangement from his family. He is unconventional, tough and willing to do anything to get justice. 

In Girl Zero we see Harry Virdee discover a family member has been murdered. It is his young neice and daughter of his drug lord brother, Tara. Soon he is relieved of police duties, ready to go it alone to uncover the identity of her killer. Harry is angry and revenge is on his mind. He meets up with Tara’s friend Sarah. She gives Harry the clues to solving this. Harry is up again a child sex trafficking ring targeting young mothers and their daughters.

Dhand gives us a real sense of the horrors of child grooming trafficking. This is something that has been reported in the media, so it should be fairly familiar. No one could have missed the Rotherham child exploitation grooming scandal, involving Asian men grooming young white girls. Present as ever is Bradford, with its poverty, dynamic religious and cultural melting pot and the chronic drug and prostitution problems. A divided city indeed. Dhand captures the city of my birth and makes it his own. Dark and dangerous!

This is terrific, really terrific. It is one to look out for if you want up to the minute contemporary and multicultural northern crime. I cannot praise more how this series is developing beautifully. I am getting a real sense of Harry now and his world. I love his maverick attitude. Yes it is violent, yes it is tough and yes it is so bleak. I applaud that. It ticks all of the boxes for a truly gripping read. Bradfordians and Yorkshire folk will easily recognise some of the settings, from the city centre to Ilkley Moor.

Really excellent! Harry Virdee should be checked out by all crime fans! Totally recommended!

About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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