Chechnya : an incorruptible security officer is assassinated
Berlin : a small child grieves for his father
In the East : an obese psychopath sets his feet on the first rungs of his criminal career
A frightened Russian woman seeks DCI Hanlon's help in finding her missing husband. Hanlon's not keen on the case. Until she hears a name she recognises only too well. Arkady Belanov, sadistic pimp and owner of an exclusive brothel in Oxford.
When DI Enver Demirel, her former partner and friend, disappears, Hanlon is forced into an uneasy alliance with the London underworld to rescue him from the blood-stained hands of the Russian mafia.
'If you are wearying of by the numbers thrillers, juggling a variety of warmed-over elements...take heart - there is stil stimulating fare to be found.'
'.....a good story...the latter half was brisk and most satisfying.'
A Hard Woman to Kill in a Booklist Online Exclusive review on July 2016.
''a sure bet.”
'Title character DCI Hanlon is chafing at being reassigned from the London Metropolitan PD to sleepy Slough, a move by Assistant Commissioner Corrigan to provide her some protection. Corrigan then gives Hanlon’s ex-partner, DI Enver Demirel, the task of finding the department’s high-level leak after Charlie Taverner, an expert in Russian crime syndicates, misses an important meeting and is presumed dead. But Hanlon, unaware of what Corrigan is doing, gets a personal plea from Taverner’s wife to find his killer, and the mention of Arkady Belanov, a pimp with whom Hanlon has a dark history, wins her involvement. When Demirel goes missing, presumably kidnapped by Belanov and cronies, Hanlon joins forces with fellow officer (and Demirel's love interest) Melinda Huss to find him, as the suspense ratchets up. Howard’s third book in the Hanlon series is scant on backstory, but it shines as a police procedural with characters as full-bodied as they are flawed, including Hanlon, who carries a load of guilt in her superbly toned body. For fans of noir crime fiction, this series is a sure bet.'