“A man is burnt alive in a suburban garden shed.
DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are called in from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit to investigate the murder. Their victim is quickly identified as a migrant worker and a man several people might have had good reason to see dead. A convicted arsonist and member of a far-right movement has just been released from prison, while witnesses claim to have seen the dead man fighting with one of the town’s most prominent slum landlords.
Zigic and Ferreira know all too well the problems that come with dealing with a community that has more reason than most not to trust the police, but when another migrant worker is attacked, tensions rapidly begin to rise as they search for their killer…”
“Long Way Home”, published in 2014, was the debut novel from Essex based copywriter Eva Dolan. It features the police detective team of DI Zigic and DS Ferreira of the Hate Crimes Unit in Peterborough. There have subsequently been two further books in the now ongoing series of Zigic & Ferreira tales.
The story revolves around a grey employment market in Peterborough where migrants from Eastern Europe and elsewhere are essentially owned by less than honest English businessmen and find themselves abused and exploited within a native community that doesn’t want them in the first place so has little or no regard for their fate.
Prejudice thus becomes something of a theme within the pages of this book, and the vivid descriptions of the lives of the migrants should give food for thought. I’m no expert but the tales of modern-day slavery in the UK seem to me to be all too plausible.
On top of that Dolan explores the effects on policing of political decisions, as well as more general themes such as love, loss, betrayal and what family means to different people.
It’s a well set up plot, which plenty of meat to get stuck into. The characters of Zigic and Ferreira are handled nicely without too much background information – this will surely trickle out over the course of the series – or dysfunctional attributes to detract from what is, at the end of the day, a really good crime story. That said, is having both lead characters dealing with hate crimes coming from immigrant families a bit much? Or is it the case that such departments will be staffed in such a manner – either for empathetic reasons or the top brass thinking it looks better PR-wise?
Perhaps the ending was predictable a little earlier than would be ideal, or maybe I just had a lucky guess. Nonetheless, this is a cracking debut novel and I look forward to catching up with the team again as the series progresses…