Harry Windsor, former strongman for dapper criminal kingpin Henry Solomon, has been going straight since his stint in prison. Having inherited a large house from his beloved foster mother, Lillian, Harry is converting it into rental rental flats.....and keeping a low profile.
That changes, though, when three young thugs start to harass an elderly couple in a pub. Harry - a combination of Bruce Lee, Superman, and Don Quixote - dispatches the hooligans pretty quickly. Assigned to write a story for the North London Gazette, Isobelle Harker (Izzy) tracks Harry down and - to his dismay - publishes an article about the 'heroic' incident.
Irish property developer Patrick Dolan, seeing the newspaper story, offers Harry five thousand dollars to find his missing daughter Mollie. The search draws Harry into the orbit of Russian mobsters whose 'gentlemen's club' employs pretty young 'hostesses' who've been forced into prostitution.
Harry's foray into the criminal underworld also puts him back into contact with Mr. Solomon, who wants Harry to resume his old job as an enforcer. Mr. Solomon's current debt collector, Cutter, is a violent wild card that needs replacing.
Izzy, who's become intrigued with Harry (and has a bit of a crush) inserts herself into the search for Mollie Dolan. During her quest for information Izzy barges in on Detective Constable Steve Marshall, and asks him to make 'unofficial inquiries' for her. Before long Izzy and Steve are informally working with Harry to find and rescue the missing girl.
Meanwhile, Detective Inspector Carson, who put Harry in prison originally, is determined to get the (former) gangster off the streets again. Carson is a bullying, sketchy cop who'd do anything to get his man.....so Harry is squeezed between criminals and cops.
As the story unfolds people get beat up, stabbed, tortured, and killed in vivid scenes that are very graphic (in case you need to know.)
The writer has a deft hand with description, and I found it easy to picture the book's people and places - especially the kitchens. One character - Detective Steve Marshall - prepares some delicious sounding recipes, and I suspect the author has an interest in cooking. (LOL)
This is a hard-hitting, action packed thriller with well-rounded, interesting characters. Harry is an especially engaging protagonist, with a dark history that still haunts him.....and a good heart.
I have a couple of quibbles with the book: though well-written, it could use another pass by a copy editor; and I was a little put off by Mr. Solomon's nickname 'The Jew' (though I suspect this is a realistic 'mob' sobriquet).
Though I cringed at some of the violent scenes, I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it to fans of thrillers.
Thank you to Andy Wiseman for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3.5 stars