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Deadland by William Shaw - Review

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

In October, my friend Janet recommend this book to me, saying she thought I would like it and it was only 99p on Kindle at that time. Janet and I have very similar taste in crime novels and in Youn g Adult novels, so I usually trust her judgement. Also, for a quid I don't really mind if I DON'T like it, so I took a chance and bought it. I've been meaning to get around to it for ages, and finally did in mid-August.

It's the second in the series about DS Alex Cupidi. While I haven't read the first one, I didn't really need to have. She is a single mum and lives on the beach in south Kent with her daughter Zoe, who is seventeen and who in the book is being a bit cagey about what she's doing all day. Their house is a bit spooky, in the wildness of the nature reserve, and I really liked the setting. 

So at the beginning of the book, two 17 year olds calle Tap and Sloth attempt to steal a phone off a woman, and then do steal a bag off a man. They rush home, thrilled with the up to date model iPhone they've got. In the bag is also an old brick of a mobile phone that can only text and do calls. The boys receive a call on the iPhone asking for the return of the phones and bag. Unsure what to do, they go to Taps' "Uncle" Mikey, who went out with his mum for a while, and Mikey makes a deal that he'll return the phone with the man in exchange for a few grand.

Meanwhile, a young man working in a gallery in Margate notices a strange smell coming from one of the works of art. The piece in question is a funerary urn, and inside it is an arm. Cupidi is called in, and so is a young DC called Jill Ferriter. She has just slept with a colleague, Peter Moon, and is mortified about it. They ask questions about the artwork and discover that it belongs to a foundation set up by Evert and Astrid Miller. Astrid was a model and Jill is a bit of a fangirl. Astrid now works for the foundation and buys art. Cupidi and Jill try to speak to her, but only manage to speak to the foundation workers and Evert. They also meet a strange artist called Ross, who is obsessed with Astrid. But back at HQ, no one is taking this crime seriously. 

Tap and Sloth discover that Mikey is dead, in what appears to be a gangland killing but which they know must be related to the phones. The man then turns up at both their houses and the two take off, hiding at the end of the Thames in a disused shack. They shoplift some food, and get chased by the security guard, who then gets killed by a motorboke going past. Tap and Sloth go to ground. 

Moon is at first investigating the death of Mikey, which appears to be gang related as I say, and then turns to the death of the security guard. All three strands can't possibly be related... can they? 

I really liked the story, I loved the Kent setting and I liked Cupidi as a detective. I liked the outcome and thought it all came together beautifully. I'm giving this four out of five and I'll definitely read something else in the series now!

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