Coming on 1 May, Willing Flesh from Adam Creed is the next in his DI Staffe series with Faber, following Suffer the Children. Where the first concerned the unsavoury, but particularly contemporary theme of child abuse and its impact on society, Willing Flesh remains contemporary with the theme of prostitution and trafficked women.
In the days before Christmas, Elena Danya, a beautiful top-end prostitute has been murdered in an upmarket London hotel room. Soon, a friend of hers, a working girl at the lower end of the market is also dead and their mutual acquaintance/friend, the aristocratic Arabella goes missing. Staffe’s investigation takes him into many aspects of London life, with the City and a City banker, a Russian oligarch, a Turkish playboy, and the British establishment. It’s an investigation that proves more difficult for Staffe when his boss, Pennington decides to cut him loose from the case and he continues to investigate on his own.
Written in the same style as Suffer the Children – with a feeling of urgency coming from use of the present tense – the quick plotting combines to deliver a novel that is quite a page-turner. Where the plot is gripping, it becomes a little convoluted towards the end, possibly delivering one or two convolutions too far and with a twist that is relatively easy to anticipate.
DI Staffe is of those coppers you hope to find in the police (in this case the City of London force), and someone you can easily warm to. Creed is good at portraying London life; you can almost smell it from the page. This DI Staffe series is obviously one about gritty urban realism and not for the faint-hearted.
With thanks to Faber and Faber for the review copy.
The author blog promises to be more active in the summer.