Review: Dreda Say Mitchell – Vendetta

I’ve been meaning to read Dreda Say Mitchell for a while. Her books bookshelf-vendettahave a reputation for being cracking reads and I like the idea of a strong female protagonist. Vendetta is the author’s latest book and published at a perfect time. In the news much has been made of the Met Police’s policy on undercover cops who have strayed beyond their remit. Vendetta provides us with an interesting take on the implications of what might happen if someone is unmasked as a mole within a violent gang.

Mac, an undercover police officer wakes up one morning in a hotel with little memory of the previous evening. He finds his lover’s corpse in the bathroom and the gash to his head suggests she may have been defending herself from his attacks. Mac goes on the run but fears that he has laid a trail that will lead both his girlfriend’s killers and the police investigating the crime to him.

Vendetta’s greatest strength is its fast paced narrative. Barely does Mac escape one foe before he’s plunged headlong into the next disaster. This could be wearying for the reader but in fact, Dreda does a very good job of keeping us gripped to the end. Relentless action can also, in some books, be at the expense of characterisation. However, I found Mac to be a credible representation of what a man in his position would be likely to do if under attack. The most compelling character, though, is Rio Wray. She’s one of the strongest police detective characters that I’ve read in a long time and her ambition and drive are perfectly placed in the book.

Vendetta is a bit of a departure for me in terms of the type of crime fiction that I read. But it was good to read something that I wanted to race through. Lee Child is quoted on the cover and I’m sure Vendetta will also appeal to fans of Child’s Jack Reacher books.

Thanks to Hodder for my review copy.