Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kingdom of Silence-Lee Wood

Kingdom of Silence
Lee Wood
Minotaur, Feb 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9780312340315

In 2001, with hoof and mouse disease leading to the slaughter of cattle, veteran US Marshal Kim Prescott escorts convicted felon Eunice Connor, a member of the violent Justice for Animals Defense Alliance (JADA), from the UK to the States. Their plane stops at Heathrow where the law enforcement official and her prisoner disembark when a motorcycle rider shoots Prescott and Connor; killing both.

Authorities on both sides of the pond assume JADA secrets were kept concealed by silencing permanently Connor. Yorkshire Detective Superintendent Keen Dunliffe leads an undercover operation to bring the JADA chief to justice using tyro Constable Rachel Colver as bait; a plan he dislikes as Rachel may easily become collateral damage. Nothing goes smooth on the maneuver, but Dunliffe keeps a stiff upper lip as he tries to complete the mission and get Rachel out safely; two goals that seem in conflict.

The second Yorkshire Dunliffe police procedural (see KINGDOM OF LIES) is an action-packed thriller that starts with an explosive opening and never slows down through a volatile middle until the explosive climax. Dunliffe is terrific as he struggles between the moral dilemmas of the potential sacrifice of one person vs. the safety of many. JADA also adds ethical questions though the group has chosen to sacrifice humans for their animal rights cause. Fans of British police procedurals will enjoy this fine entry even if the operation is somewhat by the sub-genre book.

Harriet Klausner