"A brilliant combination of almost Jacobean savagery and sexual betrayal with a tart comedy of contemporary manners." ―John Harvey, The Guardian.
For years Colin Harpur's dubious boss, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles, ran a questionable but practical arrangement with Mansel Shale and Panicking Ralph Ember, owner of the Monty Club: Iles would protect their businesses if they ensured peace on the streets. But the arrangement fails when violence erupts.
After a small-time criminal's house is firebombed, leaving the owner and his daughter dead, mistrust and uncertainty pervade the formerly well-managed streets: more drug dealers emerge and competition grows. With the failure of a once mutually beneficial relationship between cops and criminals, a battle for survival ensues. Bill James is a pointripe with humor, fast dialogue, and incisive wit, he offers entrance into the shocking and fascinating underbelly of a city and its inherent mysteries.