The Molten City – Chris Nickson

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Leeds, September 1908. There’s going to be a riot. Detective Superintendent Tom Harper can feel it. Herbert Asquith, the prime minster, is due to speak in the city. The suffragettes and the unemployed men will be out in the streets in protest. It’s Harper’s responsibility to keep order. Can he do it?

Harper has also received an anonymous letter claiming that a young boy called Andrew Sharp was stolen from his family fourteen years before. The file is worryingly thin. It ought to have been bulging. A missing child should have been headline news. Why was Andrew’s disappearance ignored? Determined to uncover the truth about Andrew Sharp and bring the boy some justice, Harper is drawn deep into the dark underworld of child-snatching, corruption and murder as Leeds becomes a molten, rioting city. 

A new case for DS Tom Harper (his eighth), following up from last year’s excellent The Leaden Heart .

We’ve moved on to 1908 – a new century and a set of new challenges for Harper and his team. The prime minister is on his way to Leeds and Harper is tasked with making sure everything runs like clockwork – no small feat when the suffragettes and unemployed both plan on making trouble.

On top of that, Harper has a mystery to solve. He’s received a letter claiming that a young boy was stolen from his family some fourteen years ago. But where was the outcry? Why is the file so empty?

I really enjoyed delving back into the world of DS Tom Harper. I read a lot of modern crime fiction set all around the world, so it’s great to find one set so close to home. I know the streets and alleyways that Harper’s men walk, and get a real feel for how my adopted city has changed. Not that you’d need to be familiar with Leeds to enjoy this, mind!

The story is, as with The Leaden Heart, full of intrigue and good, solid no-nonsense police work. Nickson clearly knows and loves his subject (and city) well, and it really comes across on the page. Leeds is very much a key character in Nickson’s books, and I hope to read many more.

The Molten City is the eighth book in the Tom Harper series, but could easily be read as a standalone. I still need to go back and read some of the earlier books, and am looking forward to doing so.

Huge thanks to Chris Nickson for asking me to review his book, and to Natasha Bell and Severn House for the advance copy via NetGalley.

Author: dave

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

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