Sam Carlisle, a private detective living and working in a fictitious town in East Anglia called Newgate, finds a homeless man dying in an alley beside a bar. The man's last words are "Help ... me ... find ...". The man had obviously been murdered but the police seem less than enthusiatic, so Sam, having no other work on hand at the moment, sets out to investigate the murder, and the meaning of the dying man's last words, on his own.
He soon finds himself in deep and dangerous waters.
It is not a bad read. I finished it quite happily. But despite the predictable tragedy in his past and the equally predicatable whisky addiction in his present, Sam is less than convincing. As is the East Anglian setting. I know East Anglia well, yet would never have realised the book was set there had the author not repeatedly informed me.
Let's be honest. Sam is a cardboard character and this East Anglia is a cardboard setting.
Why am I reviewing it, then? I almost never write even mildly negative reviews. (For the simple reason that if I'm not enjoying a book I don't waste any more of my precious reading time on it. I move on to one of the many other books I have sitting in piles around my flat or desperately trying to work their way up to the front page of my Kindle Reader.)
So what was it I liked about the book? The minor characters: many of them were original and there were some I could identify with. I always need that, and I couldn't identify with Sam at all.