Written by Nick Oldham — Anyone who has read Vendetta, Nick Oldham’s novelisation of the film starring Danny Dyer, will probably still cringe at the thought of some of the more imaginative torture scenes… filling a living victim with cement is just one example indelibly etched upon my brain.
So I did a quick Google search when Low Profile landed on the doormat. Surely there must be two authors with the same name? Not so – and the more I read this book, the more surprised I was. Low Profile is the 21st book to feature veteran police detective Henry Christie. They’re set in and around Blackpool and, as befitting the work of an ex-copper-turned-author, they offer an authentic inside track to real life police work.
Now a Detective Superintendent, Christie is staring retirement in the face. His partner Alison runs a country pub, and a life behind the beer pumps is beckoning. But Christie isn’t going out without a fight, and is certainly not going to spend his remaining time in the job he loves trapped behind a desk and shovelling paper.
No, he likes to be in the thick of things – that’s exactly where he finds himself when he follows up on a call from his sister. She is on holiday with her current squeeze when she receives a distraught call from former boyfriend Percy Astley Barnes. Percy claims he is ‘a dead man’ and begs her for help – and she passes the info on to an intrigued Henry Christie. Curiosity leads him to follow it up – and he walk in on a hitman, who has just killed Percy and his current girlfriend in cold blood. As the gun turns on our intrepid hero, he has no hesitation in running for his life. Or should that be rowing? Because in one of the most memorable scenes in the book, confirmed land-lubber Christie finds himself adrift in a small boat heading inexorably out to sea.
In Gran Canaria, ex-cop Steve Flynn makes his living on the ocean waves. He is skipper of a big game fishing boat which takes tourists out on day trips. It’s an idyllic existence, until a name from Flynn’s past makes an appearance. What started out as a simple day hire threatens to turn Steve’s life upside down, putting his life in danger in the process. The stories are destined to overlap, which could be a problem as Flynn and Christie have history, and when the pair meet again there is bound to be fireworks – but can they put the past behind them for the common good?
Low Profile may be the latest in a long line of Henry Christie novels but it works just as well as a standalone book and if, like me, you’re new to the series then you won’t feel at any disadvantage. It is a fast and furious read as the action flits between North West England and the Canary Islands. And although all the flitting about did confuse me a little at times, you’ll fined plenty here to keep your crime brain occupied and engaged.
Christie is a likeable and wholly believable modern-day, died-in-the-wool copper. He’s nearer to Heartbeat than Die Hard, but that makes him all the more endearing.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars