Author: Ed Chatterton
Publisher: Caffeine Nights
Release Date: September 2016
Remission is the third book in Ed Chatterton’s Frank Keane series, following A Dark Place To Die (2011) and Down Among The Dead Men (2013). When morally compromised Liverpool cop Keane returns from the United States with $25 million worth of dodgy money, he is dealt a double blow: not only is he diagnosed with cancer, he quickly learns that an unknown enemy is trying to kill him. While his colleagues find themselves consumed with a routine traffic accident that develops into a murder enquiry, Keane drops out of sight in an attempt to manage his illness at a bolthole in the country. Little does he realise, a chain of events have already been set in motion that will see him dragged into the centre of a horrifying neo-Nazi terror plot…
Given its status as the third book in an ongoing series, Remission is understandably front-loaded with Frank Keane’s back-story. While this initially feels alienating (to new readers, such as myself), it quickly fades into the background as the multi-layered narrative hits its stride. The police procedural aspect may give the book its structure, but the story isn’t tethered to this set-up, and effectively combines the initial whodunit hook with an increasingly dark storyline about a merciless German neo-Nazi organisation – and its plans to send shockwaves through Europe.
The Anglo-German narrative adds a welcome cosmopolitan edge to the Brit-crime proceedings, and the story never lingers in one place for too long, with Keane desperate to outrun the men hunting him. Indeed, the chapters that step away from the Liverpool-based investigation are the most compelling: bodies pile-up throughout, and the neo-Nazi antagonists give the story a genuinely sinister edge – especially when tensions bubble up between the co-conspirators, and their threats take on a stomach-churning psychological edge.
To his credit, Chatterton avoids following well-trodden narrative paths throughout, and Keane’s story has a bleak, unremitting quality that serves it well. There are no easy resolutions – far from it – and this book boasts some genuinely shocking scenes.
Reviewed by Tom Leins