This week sees the release of the Eddie Kane trilogy by Dominic Milne, a trio of crime novels set in the uncompromising underworld of north London. Act Of Contrition is the first in this excellent series, that features the charming, but utterly reckless, Hackney-based detective, Eddie Kane.
The outset of Act Of Contrition finds Kane inadvertently under the thumb of ruthless Islington mobster, Vincent Mullis. Mullis has taken ownership of Kane’s debts with terminally-ill bookmaker, Arnie Duggan, and wants to start pulling strings. Kane’s troubles spiral further out of control when he is then placed under investigation, following the disappearance of evidence from a drugs-bust.
While suspended, Kane is pressed to investigate the murder of a local prostitute for the Mullis, who appears hell-bent on beating the law to the culprit. He then reluctantly hears a confession of a historic gangland execution from the dying Duggan, a killing which may tie in with current events.
Kane’s unauthorised investigations lead him into a murky world of child-pornography, murder and revenge, all of which appear to point towards the charismatic vicar of a local church, Jonathan Carter, and murderer-turned-Christian, Paddy Graham.
Act Of Contrition is a darkly complex and humorous introduction to the flawed world of DS Eddie Kane, a detective whose past indiscretions and secrets are constantly bubbling beneath the surface. A tense, breathless plot is interspersed with the regret-filled flashbacks of the dying Arnie Duggan, and those of the re-born but tormented ex-con, Paddy Graham.
Eddie Kane makes for a compelling anti-hero, straddling the line between legitimacy and blunt justice with the charm of a cobra, and the subtlety, at times, of a wrecking ball.
His world darkens significantly during the course of the following books in the series, Act Of Madness and Act Of Vengeance, which pack every bit the heavy-weight punch.