A bit of a genre-mix, part international espionage thriller and part crime mystery, Moonlight Shadows by Paul Anthony (@PaulAnthonysPen) features interesting and well-drawn characters, exciting bursts of action, multiple storylines, and more than a few well-placed plot twists.
I enjoyed it immensely.
The story begins during “The Troubles” in Ireland as an active service unit of the Provisional Irish Republican Army heads into the borderlands separating the Republic from the British-controlled northern counties. From there the reader is swept up into a world of international intrigue in Japan and Amsterdam as well as common-sense policing in London and the English seaside town of Crillsea.
The plots come together soon enough, and along the way the reader gets to spend plenty of time with Detective Chief Inspector Davies King, newly promoted but saddled with a green and ambitious “political” type. Joining the chess-playing Davies are most of the wonderful cast of characters introduced in The Conchenta Conundrum (my review of this 5-star novel) including the proper and ultra-efficient office manager Claudia, who is — as everyone who works there knows — the glue that keeps the Crillsea “nick” running, as well as Archie, a Crillsea fixture not afraid to add a pint or two to the tab of DCI King.
Other returning notables include larger-than-life Detective Chief Superintendent “Big Al” Jessop, Detective Sergeant Ted “Barney” Barnes — whose days in the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) prove very useful — and Detective Inspector Annie Rock, who I hope Mr. Anthony finds a larger role for in the future as her confidence and competence made her a favorite of mine. The new faces to the mix include a stone-cold Irish killer and plenty of shadowy intelligence types more accustomed to lying than telling the truth.
Those familiar with Mr. Anthony’s biography, which includes stints as a detective in local, regional and national police agencies in the United Kingdom, including the Special Branch (now known as Counter-Terrorism Command), will take special interest in the “behind the scenes” aspect of this story. When DCS Big Al Jessop puts an operation in motion to nab some robbers in London or a PIRA Active Service Unit’s movements in the Republic are monitored, there is a sense of utter authenticity to the proceedings; no extra drama needed.
Finally, as I’ve noted before I’m an Anglophile so the settings and dialogue were just the icing on a very tasty and satisfying treat of a story. The next DCI Davies King book is already out, so I’m adding Behead the Serpent to my To Read List straightaway, sure I am.