Author: Peter May
Date of publication: April 2020
Genre: mystery and thriller
Format read: e-ARC
Number of pages: 416
A CITY IN QUARANTINE
London, the epicenter of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus that has already claimed thousands of victims. Health and emergency services are overwhelmed.
A MURDERED CHILD
At a building site for a temporary hospital, construction workers find a bag containing the rendered bones of a murdered child. A remorseless killer has been unleashed on the city; his mission is to take all measures necessary to prevent the bones from being identified.
A POWERFUL CONSPIRACY
D.I. Jack MacNeil, counting down the hours on his final day with the Met, is sent to investigate. His career is in ruins, his marriage over and his own family touched by the virus. Sinister forces are tracking his every move, prepared to kill again to conceal the truth. Which will stop him first – the virus or the killers?
Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.
Lockdown was written by Peter May fifteen years ago. Yet, reading it, I found myself thinking ‘this could be here and now’ Not in an anxiety-inducing way. I was simply acutely aware of details that I might have glossed over without our current situation. The death toll didn’t simply appear as stats. I felt the heavy weight of so many losses to an invisible hand. The fear, the streets you used to walk that suddenly look greyer, sadder, devoid of what made it a street. I know many people are wary about reading about a pandemic at the moment, and I totally understand. However, I must let you know that instead of feeding my own fears, Lockdown helped me take a step back. Weird, isn’t it? Well, not so much if you’re familiar with the author’s work. Peter May’s writing is engrossing and always, always offers multiple layers to satisfy the reader on every level.
So yes, London is at the center of a global pandemic. The city has lost its colors and many of its inhabitants. Checkpoints have appeared, the whole place is standing still, barely breathing. To meet the needs, a temporary hospital is being built by a small team allowed to be outside. All work stops when someone notices a bag containing bones on the construction site. With so many rules forbidding people to wander around, how did this bag end up there? Whose bones have been -messily- hidden? You see, in the middle of this sanitary crisis, what is frighteningly seen as normal still happens. A murder, pushing the pandemic into the background… at least at the beginning.
This perfect blend of the new normal and the old murder cases I’m used to and love grabbed seized my attention. I wanted answers on both sides. What had turned London into a Martial prison with dead bodies all over the place. Who had killed someone and left their bones on a construction site?
Despite the desolate situation, DI Jack McNeil has a job to do. It is soon revealed that the bones belong to a child. That’s when my stomach actually hurt. Then the police and forensics machines began working and the whole thing gathered momentum…
Jack McNeil is drowning in murky waters. His marriage is over, his career only has a few more hours to live. So Jack puts everything he has in this investigation, until he gets caught up by the threatening cloud of the pandemic.
The balance between the case and the crisis is the key to really appreciate Lockdown (I can’t use the word ‘enjoy’ but I am sure Peter May won’t mind) It was easy to warm to the characters and hope for the best, whatever the best would look like during such days.
My only niggle was about Pinkie. You’ll meet him when you read the novel. I had to suspend my disbelief when the smoke appeared. I know this paragraph won’t make sense to you, so go grab a copy, you curious mind!
Lockdown is an intense novel, almost prophetic at times, but most of all, a very interesting and chilling thriller.
You can grab a copy here!
I received a copy of this novel through NetGalley. This review is my unbiased opinion.
From Peter May’s website:
A message from Peter:
“I have taken the decision to donate the money from the advance that I have received for LOCKDOWN to various charitable organisations involved with supporting health workers, victims and others suffering as a result of Covid-19.”