The Weight of Shadows is a hugely entertaining thriller in an uncompromising game of cat and mouse between law-enforcement, criminal gangs and cold-blooded killers. Each encounter leaves a climate of unnerving consequences and terror. Karl Holton has written one of the best thrillers and detective characters that I’ve read this year.
Karl Holton’s character, Detective Danny Benedict, exudes personality, intelligence and traits that he himself tries to restrain. This is very clever writing and we come to consider Benedict as slightly autistic where his social skills are abrupt and harshly honest, but he often recognises that he should say something positive or constructive even though it’s against his natural tendency. It makes the personal interactions more natural rather than a contrived character that just pisses everyone off. He is a super-intelligent detective who sees situations, motive and clues that those around him don’t. His deductive analysis skills are expertly woven into the plot and the dialogue feels perfectly natural.
The Weight of Shadows has one of the best prologues I’ve ever read. It immediately hooks you into a world of clever, tense and horrific expectations. The astute detective is matched by a super intelligent serial killer, a relationship that is kept alive to play out with Benedict in the future. The prologue gives a sense of the mood and pace of the narration and what’s at stake as the premise is teased in front of you and then removed.
Several crimes are planned and executed in seemingly unrelated ways. A jewellery robbery in London involves a London based gang led by Connor with all the planning coming from a Serbian gang led by Vuk. Although this gang is ultimately controlled by a Ukrainian Bratva, where Kuzma, is the ruthless, unflinching and vicious Godfather. After the perfectly planned jewellery robbery has been delivered, Connor is found dead in a brutal and horrific manner. Benedict, since the prologue incident, has been transferred to the National Crime Agency and is asked to return to assist the Metropolitan Police Homicide and Serious Crime Command which isn’t welcomed by everyone.
Shortly after the first horrific murder of Connor another body is found with the same modus operandi but are they the same killer, a copycat, a red herring or the intended kill? You’ll not be disappointed in reading this to find out. The death toll mounts, however, someone will go to any financial or operational lengths to stop the murder of the final kidnapped victim.
Ray Hanson is another major character in the story and from a difficult childhood has become an expert in hiding dirty money and laundering it. He has amassed enormous wealth and with it, an opportunity to hide his identity and his illegal past.
“Hanson allowed himself a brief smile. ‘So much of my life has been hidden … by shadows.’ Benedict looked up at him. ‘How did it feel under the shadows?’ ‘The weight of shadows can be devastating … I’ve been collecting them since I was a young man,’ said Hanson.”
The mysterious Ray Hanson now appears honest and helpful towards the authorities but there is a threat against him that requires him to assemble a crack team of individuals with military, investigative, analytical and cyber-surveillance skills. Benedict will be one of the targets for his team, and he will need him and others to stop what’s coming.
I highly recommend this book and I would like to thank Book Funnel and Karl Holton for providing me with a copy of The Weight of Shadows in return for an honest review.