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Early Saturday morning on the first train out of Weymouth, a dead body is found by a passenger. It’s a man in his early 40’s and it looks as if he was stabbed in the chest somewhere else and run onto the train to hide from his attacker(s). Strange thing is that the man doesn’t have a past or background. His flat looks as if it’s a safe house but no-one knows which agency is in charge; border forces, MI6, counter-terrorism or someone else?
Not much later, a woman posing as a nurse talks her way into a woman’s hostel and stabs a client in her heart. These 2 cases seem to be related, but no-one connected to or in charge of the victims wants to inform the police who’s trying to solve a murder while Special Branch is more worried about a huge security leak within the Home Office’s secret unit. Meanwhile, the politicians have their own agenda. It’s a huge investigation with several police forces involved and Sophie Allen will have to tread lightly.

This book is the 9th I a series and that’s clearly noticeable by a large amount of overlaps and family/love relations between various members of the police force. Luckily there’s a handy list of names and occupations in the front of the book but only of the police people. I had to check it a couple of times because there’s a very large cast of characters. I guess that when you’re familiar with the series, you’re acquainted with most of them and their interactions. This is something that I appreciate in a series; that characters that are picked up in 1 story don’t disappear into the void but that they remain around. The story stands completely on its own, so it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read any of the previous books.
The main character is DSI Sophie Allen who’s been promoted recently to her grade and I think she might have featured more prominently in previous stories, but here’s a lot of attention for the work of her team and that of other forces. This is a nice change from most police mysteries where often it appears that 1 detective solves the whole case on his/her own.
This is as much an espionage thriller as it is a political thriller and a police procedural. The story is told very well and remained suspenseful even though I sussed out the main culprit a bit over halfway.
This story embarks on a controversial theme; political refugees on silly overcrowded tiny plastic boats trying to cross the Mediterranean or the Channel. I do feel sorry for those people who feel that this is their best bet but they must know the risks they take. They all have smartphones and the latest information about to whom and where to go to or avoid. They are not innocently naive as we’re made to believe. As well as paying ridiculous amounts of money to get where they want to be, those people deliberately endanger not only themselves but also their children. If you leave your child alone for 10 minutes while you pop out for bread, you’ll be accused of neglect. So how doesn’t stuffing your child in a ramshackle leaky boat make you a hero? No off course, I do not want those people to drown. I want their relatives and friends who’ve survived the ordeal, to tell the truth about the horrible journey, the criminals, violence, rapes, and the shitty conditions they eventually end up in. But no, those keep a brave face and proudly tell the people back home what paradise full of golden mountains, they’ve found. But they want to keep their head up high and don’t want to admit to the home front that they’re sometimes worse off than before. The worst thing here is that the genuine political and war refugees are invisible amidst the mass of economical runaways. For sure those are the people in dire need of a safe place but they’re given a bad name by those that don’t qualify and seek a life of illegality. This problem doesn’t exist in Britain alone but all over Western and Northern Europe, but here in Belgium, we see a lot of transmigrants (mainly young African men) that put all of their hope in reaching the UK and flat out refuse to apply for asylum here. The main culprits here are off course the smugglers preying on those people and making big bucks out of them. Those people should be sought out and severely punished, but as for now, they seem to catch nothing but the hired help. I can’t understand how their victims still keep falling for it. By now, they should know better for sure?
I thank NetGalley and Joffe Books for the free ARC they provided and this is my honest unbiased review of it.

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Ruthless Crimes - Michael Hambling
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