When human bones are discovered in Cockpit Lane, a poor area of inner south London, D.C.I. David Brock and D.S. Kathy Kolla of Scotland Yard are called in to investigate. The first twist in the case comes when Brock and Kolla learn that the victims died over twenty years ago, during the Brixton riots, information that leads the two of them on a dangerous journey into the heart of the West Indian community in London. Making matters worse, a formidable old antagonist, Spider Roach, returns, weaving together past and present in an intricate web of deception and intrigue. Now the two have to uncover the truth of those long ago deaths, and be able to prove it with a crucial piece of evidence, in order to prevent the violence of the past from revisiting itself on them.
This gripping and complex ninth installment of Maitland's Brock and Kolla series (after 2006's No Trace) ties past and present in London's West Indian community. After the bodies of two young girls are found in South London, both shot through the head, media attention precipitates a Scotland Yard investigation. A schoolboy exploring a deserted Brixton rail yard uncovers three unidentified bodies shot with the same gun some 24 years before, at a time of civil unrest and riots. Det. Sgt. Kathy Kolla investigates the girls' murders, while DCI David Brock feels compelled to follow the slim leads to the past as the investigation widens to include an agent from Special Branch and aging ex-con "Spider" Roach. Some of Spider's family and associates have risen to wealth and prominence, and Brock's queries run up against a suspicious number of walls. Though character development is somewhat lacking, the intricate plot, spot-on dialogue and vivid descriptions will keep readers turning the pages.