Review: Cut Adrift by Chris Simms
(Orion Books, £12.99)
Manchester Detective Inspector John Spicer and his gay, surfing obsessed sidekick Rick are handed the task of investigating the ugly slaying of a Russian asylum-seeker. But they hit a brick wall when the man's identity turns out to be false. In fact, the only thing they know is that he was found drifting off the British coast in a small boat.
Then more asylum seekers begin to die, each one killed in the same horrific manner and by the time Spicer realises there's a trained assassin at work who is prepared to kill anyone who might threaten the deadly mission he's been tasked with, it is almost too late. He and his family are in deadly danger because his estranged wife Alice, a social worker, has been trying to help a traumatised and virtually catatonic young Chinese woman who has become the killer's next target.
This, the sixth DI Spicer investigation, is an absolutely ace British police procedural that rattles along with commendable pace. But author Chris Simms does not let the action dominate, taking the time to develop interesting and fully rounded characters who have to struggle daily with the balance between demanding jobs and complicated personal lives.