Source: Review copy, Netgalley
Publication: P/back on 6th Feb 2020 from Pan MacMillan
Homeland Security agent, Kit Steel, is committed to avenge terrorism. And she’s after the blood of her nemesis, one of world’s most ruthless and dangerous criminals, Vincente Carpio. He has the blood of her husband and young son on his hands, and Kit is unwavering in her determination to see him kept behind bars forever. Clever, calculating, and manipulative, Carpio has aid and influence on the outside, and he’s waiting for the perfect moment when the final pieces of the jigsaw fall into place.
Harbour Union chief, Cormack McConnell, has lived his life close to the wire above and below the law, and he controls everything that happens on Boston’s waterfront. Someone wants him out of the way, fast. After he narrowly survives a brutal attack on his bar, The Mariner, complications arise when Cormack believes he’s been betrayed by one of his crew – a young man, Buddy Cavanaugh, who he’s shocked to discover is the love of his precious nineteen-year-old daughter, Diamond.
Everyone has a game to play until it becomes apparent that there are much darker, far-reaching forces of evil at work which look to be preparing for the international stage. What follows is a gripping race against time, a rollercoaster action-packed story with international terrorism at its core and family at its heart.
I’ve wanted to read Blood in the Water ever since I heard Jack Flynn discussing it at Bloody Scotland, so the paperback publication offered just the excuse I needed to get stuck in.
We are in ‘On the Waterfront’ territory here. Only instead of New Jersey, it is the Boston Irish dockworkers union leader Cormack McConnell and his group of corrupt racketeers who run the docks with a rod of iron. Flynn positions McConnell well, on the wrong side of the law, prepared to mete out the devastating and violent justice that his code calls for, but still stopping short of the worst crimes that people traffickers and hard drugs smugglers can and do perpetrate.
His one soft spot is his daughter, Diamond. 19 years old she has her father’s stubborn streak. McConnell is also playing a dangerous game with Homeland Security Agent, Kit Steel. Steel has her own agenda; she is entirely focussed on bringing down Vincente Carpio, the man responsible for the savage murder of her family. Steele has him in custody, but keeping him there will be a full time job. Vincente’s brother, Javier has shown up in town and that’s a big signal that something is afoot.
Cormack’s empire is under threat from the drug cartels who are planning a take over. T’phong Soh, a Malaysian member of the extremely violent M-13 drug running cartel, is intent on running the docks so that he can expand his own hard core illegal activities.
Soh has plans beyond M-13 though and he has co-opted their right hand man, Suarez to make sure he can fulfill them.
Flynn writes a fast paced, engaging and adrenaline fuelled thriller, where, whatever his flaws, you know you are rooting for McConnell to win through. With his daughter under threat and a rat in his own organisation, all the odds are against him. This will be a battle to the death.
I loved that Soh was such a fierce and menacing enemy, prepared to do whatever it takes to win his goal. And Flynn is prepared to sacrifice his characters to the story, always a class choice in a series.
Verdict: An exciting, intelligent thriller set in the frozen waters of Boston harbour. Great characters and a high octane plot make for a terrific and nail-biting read.
Jack Flynn is a lawyer in Boston and has worked pro bono on behalf of wrongly convicted individuals. He lives south of the city and writes on his daily commute across Boston Harbor. Blood in the Water is his gripping Boston thriller.