Neil Cross, if not consciously on your radar, may have been entertaining you for some time as the lead writer on the last two series of Spooks. So successful is his screen work that the BBC is delivering another series from him in 2010: Luther, 'a dark psychological crime drama' starring Idris Elba and a few other on screen favourites. This time last year, we saw his novel Burial hit the shelves and on 7 January, we now have Captured. Both novels may have that 'a dark psychological crime drama' tag applied and it's something in which the author excels.
Captured opens with Kenny discovering that he has brain cancer and, at best, six weeks to live. Then he writes a short list of names, the people he feels he let down somewhere along the way, and he chooses to use his remaining time to 'put things right'. On that list is one Callie Barton, a childhood friend. He wants to find her to thank her for her friendship and kindness when they were at school. However, Kenny discovers that Barton went missing some time ago and even though her husband was cleared of any involvement, he does appear to be hiding something.
As with Burial, Captured is all about the delivery of the story, told in exceedingly pared down prose that sweeps you along at bullet train pace. Again we have a story that is disturbing, suddenly taking on a very dark form and one that has some shocking violence, exhibiting a frightening side of human nature. Cross certainly knows how to grab a reader by the jugular and feels like an unstoppable force in the genre.
[With thanks to Simon & Schuster for the copy.]