Tobe White is a forty+ year veteran of the police force. He accepts the bad and the good inherent in human nature with a placid, philosophical approach. He lives with his octogenarian mother who is a retired psychiatry professor.
Nick Cooper is in his mid-thirties and works with a less positive outlook than his senior partner. He is often anxious and has a profound caffeine addiction. He is in love with an elementary school teacher who refuses to marry him on the grounds that he is a policeman like her father was – and that is not the life she wants.
Together, Nick and Tobe work for the Gang Intelligence Centre for the Southern New Zealand Police which deals with gang-related organized crime.
When they are called out to a hostage situation, it is highly unusual for them. This anomaly is the beginning of a case which will turn out to be life-changing for them both.
“Too much hope can make you stupid.”
Why were SO many gang members all in the home of a respected and law-abiding Chinese family?
“I wonder how the biggest killing of gang members in the south happens without us knowing a thing? When it’s our job to know. How come we have nothing? Not who, not how or even a vague, general clue as to why.”
The hostage situation rapidly deteriorates when the house explodes… the wife is shot, and the father is kidnapped by one of the gang members.
Then, the biggest blizzard New Zealand has experienced hits the area…
A police procedural that is uniquely different. Why? Well for starters, the detectives are so vastly different and the author waxes philosophical through their characters. Fundamental philosophies about honesty, integrity, parents, children, crime, hope, evil, and justice.
The relationship between the two detectives was a joy to read.
“Morality is not the doctrine of how we make ourselves happy, but how we make ourselves worthy of happiness.”
The setting is the area of New Zealand near the Glendhu Forest. It is Easter weekend in the end of March, so just at the very beginning of their winter season.
The title seemed so bizarre for a novel about gangs and police. However, when you read the book, you’ll find that the title is PERFECT.
As is the case of many thrillers, this one has a plot twist. This one really surprised me, but made perfect sense and was not far-fetched.
This is my first read by Finn Bell, and I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.
I received a complimentary copy of this novel directly from the author almost two years ago. My apologies for only getting to it now. My honest review is my way of saying thanks. Finn Bell won the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel (for ‘Dead Lemons’). I have added “Dead Lemons” to my TBR.
Finn Bell on Twitter.