From Publishers Weekly
Starting a new Harpur & Iles mystery these days is like having lunch with a couple of smart and sardonic friends who don't quite get along. Over drinks, Asst. Chief Constable Desmond Iles of an unnamed English city"a vain and fascinatingly immoral man who has been passed over but never fired because of a series of sexual misadventures"will toss out comments that show how aware he is of the irony. At the start of their latest outing (after 2005's Easy Streets
), Iles explains why he thinks of himself as Dr. Frankenstein: "the good, young, idealistic man of science who yearned to produce new life by his own methods." Colin Harpur, as detective chief superintendent the man concerned with both controlling Iles and keeping crime in check, knows exactly how to handle such remarks, and both are soon deeply involved in the job of providing new lives for the family of a high-level informant hiding in their city after a large robbery goes bad. With Iles at his most dangerous and a truly frightening London crime mob seeking revenge, no wonder Colin is a bit nervous at lunch. (July)
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*Starred Review* James is a grand-master crime writer and deserves high kudos for his Harpur & Iles series, which stands, with Ian Rankin's Rebus series and John Harvey's Charlie Resnick novels, at the very apex of the British police-procedural mountain. Filled with savagely biting humor, caustic repartee, and an unsettling sense of foreboding, James' latest entry will have readers shivering with horror while simultaneously laughing like loons at the spiteful verbal jousting between tastefully garbed, acid-tongued ACC Desmond Iles and his Oxfam-suited, insult-hurling sidekick, Colin Harpur. The story is slight--it's James' brilliant phrasing, pacing, and plotting and his bizarre characters that set this book apart. Master criminal Ian Ballion has committed the creme de la crime by grassing on his partners, becoming what's known in policing terms as a Covert Human Intelligence Source. To protect Ballion from violent retribution--he has, after all, finked on members of London's top organized-crime family--he and his family are being "clandestinely resettled" on Harpur and Iles' patch. New identities and a new life don't, however, remove the threat of retribution, and it's Harpur and Iles' job to make sure the family stays safe. As Harpur and Iles trade insults as nasty as pepper spray, the hint of menace grows into a high velocity, kick-in-the-teeth ending that reconfirms the exceedingly fine line between good and evil. Emily MeltonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved