Sirens is a debut novel and is a compelling read. Detective Constable Aidan Waits works undercover in Manchester (Manchester noir?). Naturally the people he’s infiltrating are deeply suspicious, prone to breath-taking violence, and occupied with a wide repertoire of evil-doing. Waits has to demonstrate his credentials, which he does, with considerable gusto becoming a quasi-alcoholic and drug user. Eventually he looks like a down and out. Waits is, apparently, on the cusp of being thrown out of the police for helping himself to confiscated drugs.
Knox has created an entirely plausible character. It’s clear that Waits is undercover because he is already prone to that sort of lifestyle. It also offers insight on the long-term stresses of being undercover.
There is a fascinating sub-plot involving a senior politicians daughter who has become involved with the criminals that Waits is investigating. It isn’t a distraction and adds to the general storyline.
Why you should read this book. This book prevents quick, glib condemnation of undercover police who lose their moral compass.
Why you shouldn’t read this book: It doesn’t feature a maverick Detective Inspector with drink problems who loves obscure music.