The Smiling Man by Joseph Knox – Review.

About The Book

Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift: an endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. 

Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter ‘Sutty’ Sutcliffe, are summoned to the Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. 

And he is smiling.

The tags have been removed from the man’s clothes. His teeth have been filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewn into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life…

But even as Waits pieces together this stranger’s identity, someone is sifting through the shards of his own. 

When mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats start to escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move. 

And to discover who the smiling man really is, he must first confront himself.

My Review

The Smiling Man is the second book in the Aidan Watts series. It is a series that I enjoy for its darkness, honesty and local setting. Manchester is a city I know reasonably well and I always enjoy reading a novel ‘knowing my way around’.

It is safe to say that neither Aidan, Sutty or Superintendent Parrs, who has the power to destroy Aidan would be the police officers who be my first choice for assistance. I think, after reading this book and learning more about Aidan’s life he would be the better option.

I was aware from reading Sirens of the problems that Aidan has had in his life. I knew he faced dismissal from the police for his actions. More of the hatred he faces from fellow officers and the control from the extremely sinister Parrs is revealed. You see the battle he faces with drug and alcohol abuse and living with what has happened in his past. I felt that most of the hatred felt was self hatred.

As well as the murder investigation, there was another story that ran through out the novel that concerned a young boy who had to assist a criminal. This side of the novel had more impact on me than any other part of the story. The guilt and fear for his sister’s safety if he’d didn’t do as he was told was chilling and often uncomfortable to read. More so, because it was so convincing.

I am currently reading book 3 in the series and I am loving reading the books together. It is highly recommended.

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