The Sinner – Martyn Waites

In prison not everyone is guilty . . .

Tom Killgannon, ex-undercover police officer and now in witness protection, is recalled to active service by his handler, DS Sheridan. His mission is to befriend notorious child killer Noel Cunningham and find out where he buried the bodies of his victims. The only problem is that Tom has to obtain that information from within Blackmoor prison itself. Undercover and with only DS Sheridan knowing he is there, Tom soon runs into danger.

In the prison is convicted gangster Dean Foley. He used to run Manchester’s biggest gang, until Tom’s testimony put him away for life. He recognises Tom, and so begins a cat-and-mouse game as Tom fights for survival before Foley can get his revenge.

But why can’t Tom reach DS Sheridan and what is the real reason that he has been sent to Blackmoor prison?

Towards the end of 2019 I picked up a copy of The Old Religion, the first book in Martyn Waites’ Tom Kilgannon series. Devoured it (metaphorically speaking) over the course of a day.

And now we have the second book, The Sinner, which I was greatly looking forward to. Tom Kilgannon is back, and is plucked from his safe(ish) witness protection life and thrust back into active service undercover. He has to infiltrate the notorious Blackmoor prison to get get some information out of convicted child killer Noel Cunningham.

Things naturally go awry fairly quickly (and fairly unpleasantly) and Tom is forced to face up to his past in no uncertain terms. And his past is not a cosy place…

Another quick read, this one. The action comes thick and fast from fairly early on, throwing Tom from one danger to the next. Trapped inside the prison with no friends and no way out, he’s forced to adapt to survive and it’s a real page-turner (albeit on kindle so not *quite* the same…) to find out how he’s going to get himself out!

I like Tom as a character, and was interested to find out more about his backstory, something which is alluded to in the first book but never really put on full display. The prison is nicely oppressive and claustrophobic, giving a hard backdrop to Tom’s quest for information. Despite one or two minor niggles with the premise of sending in an undercover cop into prison, I quickly got past that and into the story, and the second half practically rattled by.

Whilst you could read The Sinner as a standalone, I think you’d definitely benefit from reading The Old Religion first – they’re definitely separate stories, but characters from the second get set up in the first, and it gives you some context to Kilgannon’s backstory.

Good fun. Recommended.

The Sinner by Martyn Waites is published by @ZaffreBooks and is out now.

Many thanks to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers and Zaffre for inviting me to take part in the blog tour, and for the advance ebook for review.

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

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