In the Swinging Sixties, a battle for the soul of the city is fought between cops and criminals, the corrupt and the corruptible.
London, November 1968. Detective Sergeant Breen has a death threat in his inbox and a mutilated body on his hands. The dead man was the wayward son of a rising politician and everywhere Breen turns to investigate, he finds himself obstructed and increasingly alienated. Breen begins to see that the abuse of power is at every level of society. And when his actions endanger those at the top, he becomes their target. Out in the cold, banished from a corrupt and fracturing system, Breen is finally forced to fight fire with fire.
William Shaw paints the real portrait of London's swinging sixties. Authentic, powerful and poignant, The Kings of London reveals the shadow beyond the spotlight and the crimes committed in the name of liberation.
When the burned body of an unidentified man is discovered in a derelict house early in Shaw's darkly humorous sequel to 2014's She's Leaving Home, Det. Sgt. Cathal "Paddy" Breen and Temporary Det. Constable Helen Tozer of Marylebone CID investigate. A second corpse belonging to Francis Pugh, the son of a prominent politician is discovered in similar circumstances, but with the skin removed from his limbs. Breen soon becomes drawn into a bohemian and criminal milieu of art dealers, hippies, and drugs. Shaw perfectly captures London in the swinging '60s with its atmosphere of sexism, where bottom ogling and pinching are commonplace. References to contemporary figures from the Beatles and Donovan to Dennis Hopper and Prime Minister James Callaghan bring the era further to life. Breen and Tozer come across as fallible human beings, not razor-sharp law enforcers, and it's their relationship both professional and personal that makes this a winner.
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A quick read because I couldn't put it down. The ending left me wanting more.