Written by Luke Delaney — Ex-police officer Luke Delaney has carved out an enjoyable niche in British crime fiction with his DI Sean Corrigan. With his books being so influenced by his former career, Delaney’s reputation as an intuitive and informed writer is well deserved and, fourth in the series, The Jackdaw won’t disappoint lovers of police procedurals.
Still at the helm of New Scotland Yard’s Special Investigation Unit, Corrigan and his regular team are quickly called upon to deal with a man dubbed The Jackdaw. He has been abducting financial sector workers from the City of London. Within hours of disappearing, the victims appear alongside a masked man on the internet, bound to a chair in a barren, white room. The culprit believes they must be punished for the crimes of greed and incompetence that led to the banking crisis, and the suffering of millions of ordinary working people. The victims’ crimes are broadcast online to thousands of social media users who can click Like if they think the banker is guilty, or Dislike for not guilty. Once a verdict is reached The Jackdaw becomes judge and executioner, unless Corrigan and his team can catch him and fast. As political and professional pressure builds on the team, Corrigan begins to realise what a wily and elusive adversary they are pitted against.
This series has improved since Cold Killing came out in 2013, and The Toy Taker was excellent. Delaney has built up a credible cast of police regulars, who all appear here, however any new reader will be able to catch up fast. In The Jackdaw the ramifications of their last case are still rumbling around, and some members of Corrigan’s team have to testify in the former case which adds to their stress when investigating The Jackdaw.
DI Corrigan is front and centre – a dedicated investigator with an uncanny knack, because he was abused as a child apparently, of being able to tap into the psyche of the most twisted of killers. In this book we see in sharper focus the disintegration of his relationship with his wife while his attraction to psychologist Anna Ravenni-Ceron grows difficult for him to ignore. She has been tasked with monitoring Corrigan’s mental state, but he’s unaware of her assignment. As their relationship intensifies, Delaney focusses on Anna’s torn loyalties to great effect, and this provides an extra frisson of excitement.
The plot meanwhile ties in well with recent news and people’s attitudes to the banking fraternity. As Delaney uses members of this disreputable profession as victims, our empathy is manipulated to and fro. How much can we sympathise with them as they face cruel and unusual punishments at the hands of The Jackdaw. There’s also a slimy and dislikeable journalist in the mix who delights in hounding Corrigan, but who is also desperate to make contact with The Jackdaw in order to get the big scoop. It’s a refreshing experience to not necessarily sympathise with the victims, and to maybe even harbour a slight grudging respect for a man who wants to get his revenge on the bankers.
All in all, another stalwart addition to Delaney’s series, and I am looking forward to the next.
CFL Rating: 5 Stars