‘Gritty as hell. I loved it. A great urban cop thriller’ Ian Rankin
As heard on BBC Radio 5 Live Phil Williams Show
From the bestselling author of Sirens, Detective Aidan Waits is on the hunt to find the identity of The Smiling Man.
A body has been found on the fourth floor of Manchester’s vast and empty Palace Hotel. The man is dead. And he is smiling.
The tags have been removed from his clothes. His teeth have been replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into his trousers offers any information about him.
Detective Aidan Waits and his unwilling partner, DI Sutcliffe, must piece together the scant clues to identify the stranger. But as they do, Aidan realises that a ghost from his past haunts the investigation. He soon recognises that to discover who the smiling man really is, he must first confront the scattered debris of his own life . . .
'Talents such as Knox rarely emerge more than once in a generation. A crime fiction masterpiece' ***** Metro
'Packing a punch from the very first page. You will love The Smiling Man' Jane Harper, author of The Dry
British author Knox's fine sequel to 2018's Sirens finds Det. Aidan Watts "an incompetent officer with a substance abuse problem and too much baggage to work cases," according to one police colleague on night duty in the city of Manchester. "I was on my 120th night shift in a row. Six months into what felt like a life sentence." With his acerbic, venomous partner, Det. Insp. Peter Sutcliffe, Watts responds to an intruder alarm at the disused Palace Hotel, where they discover a dead body, its facial muscles "locked into a wide, wincing grin." The complex narrative proceeds on several tracks, centering on the detectives' efforts to identity the smiling man and his killer. Vivid, visceral flashbacks reveal a series of other violent crimes. Knox's nightmarish prose compels, but readers will struggle to assemble the pieces of this intricate puzzle with its substantial cast. This ambitious book will appeal to those who like particularly grim story lines and deeply flawed protagonists.