Peter May wrote Lockdown some years ago but it was not published at the time. Considering current events he took it out of storage and it has been a recent best seller. You could say that this is because of the particularly timely subject matter but it is also a tribute to the excellent storytelling in this book.
The book is set over a few days in London following the outbreak of a flu like epidemic. Law and order has mostly broken down, there are curfews and people are frightened. The death rate of this illness is 85% and only a few have access to drugs which can cure the disease. There are some parallels to the situation in the UK in 2020 but also many differences and soon you begin to forget that aspect of the book and begin reading it for the story.
Jack O’Neill is a detective who is serving his final day in the police force. His marriage is breaking up and he wants to spend more time with his young son. His final case is to find out what happened to a young girl whose bones have been found in a bag on a building site. Slowly he begins to uncover the story of the girl, helped by a forensic scientist who reconstructs the face. What he finds out is horrifying and puts him and all those involved in these events at risk.
This is a fast paced, action novel. Everyone that O’Neill goes to see gives him a clue and leads him to the next person who also has a clue. He experiences personal danger over and over again but seems to escape where others don’t. People who have important information don’t live long. There is a long chase across London and around famous landmarks and the climax takes place on one of the more photogenic. This book is very much structured to make a film but it also is a good crime novel that engages and keeps the attention of the reader.
Exciting and full of action. An excellent crime novel.