“A fate worse than death…
DI Murphy and DS Rossi discover the body of known troublemaker Dean Hughes, dumped on the steps of St. Mary’s Church in West Derby, Liverpool. His body is covered with the unmistakable marks of torture.
As they hunt for the killer, they discover a worrying pattern. Other teenagers, all young delinquents, have been disappearing without a trace.
Who is clearing the streets of Liverpool?
Where are the other missing boys being held?
And can Murphy and Rossi find them before they meet the same fate as Dean?”
2014’s “The Dying Place” is author Luca Veste‘s second novel, following on from “Dead Gone” which had introduced the characters of Liverpool detectives DI David Murphy and DS Laura Rossi.
This novel starts off with an account of how a single mother on benefits is judged by others, often without any knowledge of what lead to the mother and children being in the position that they find themselves.
From there we are gradually introduced to a range of characters – from an elderly man whose wife died after being mugged and who despises the “scallies” on Liverpool’s streets, to Goldie, a teenager full of bravado who thinks he’s top dog, and all manner of people on both sides of this particular divide.
As well as a rather perplexing case to deal with, DI Murphy also has a partner pressing him to commit to starting a family and a best friend whose teenage son (Murphy’s godson) seems to be going off the rails to contend with. On top of that he isn’t the “perfect” detective – he misses things sometimes, but that adds to the drama contained within the book.
I thought that this was a really well written crime thriller which addresses a very topical subject at a time when those whose life depends on state benefits are the subject of much media and political interest. Social commentary within the confines of a crime thriller.
Inspired by his father’s discussion about “getting together a group of “old boys” in a van and sorting out the “scallies” which he imagines lurk on every corner” and his own interest in the sense of disparity he finds in the city of Liverpool, what Veste does here is to take the extreme viewpoints often bandied about and to examine what really lies beneath the surface. Yes, there are bad folks that do bad things who are living on benefits but there are also those who want to do so much better, just as there are those looking down on the benefit “scroungers” who are capable of equally bad things.
This is a really good book with a great story to tell which manages to both entertain in the way that crime thrillers should and also comment on how parts of our society have become. Recommended reading…