Monday, March 30, 2015

Review of A Dark Redemption by Stav Sherez (Faber, 2012)

DI Jack Carrigan has a troubled personal past and is considered something of a maverick within the London Met, singly obsessed with solving cases in his own way.  His new investigation concerns the horrific death of Grace Okello, a Ugandan student studying at the School of African and Oriental Studies, who was undertaking her thesis on rebel leaders and child armies in Africa.  Carrigan’s boss places the equally marginalised DS Geneva Miller into Carrigan’s team to monitor his actions.  Carrigan and Miller don’t see to eye to eye, with Miller pursuing a different line of enquiry to her boss.  As the murder breaks in the media the team is placed under increasing pressure to solve the murder and it soon becomes clear that others are interfering with the investigation and Carrigan has other personal baggage.

A Dark Redemption is a police procedural with a strong political inflection concerning rebel child armies in Northern Uganda.  The strength of the story is its nice prose and cadence, the contextualisation and the handling of the subject matter, and a nice sense of place with respect to the seedier parts of London.  Carrigan and Miller are both troubled cops who are struggling in their personal lives and at work.  In A Dark Redemption, Sherez focuses in particular on the back story of Carrigan and his approach to the death of a Ugandan student, though Miller has more substance than a one-dimensional side kick.  Similarly other characters are nicely penned, such as a London-based political activist.  The plot was interesting and compelling, though some elements didn’t quite ring true, and there is a reliance of plot devices at times.  There is though a nice twist towards the end that I didn’t see coming.  Overall, an engaging police procedural that tackles a weighty political issue head on.

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