Vince McNulty was a pretty good cop, but his fiery temper and use of violence got him kicked off the force. Depressed, Vince loses himself in old movies and visits to the Northern X massage parlors, which used to be among his targets as a vice cop. Then Vince discovers that young girls from the very massage parlors he's visited have disappeared. Fearing a setup, he decides to run his own investigation. But his lone-ranger approach only leads him into terrible danger after he learns an appalling secret about Northern X, its owner, and a group of customers with very special tastes. Vince's childhood in an orphanage makes him particularly sensitive to any form of mistreatment, and despite his tough exterior, his hidden heart of gold makes him determined to save the young prostitutes from Northern X. Full of white-knuckle suspense, shocking violence, and unexpected twists. A fine choice for fans of gritty, realistic cop dramas.
An ex-vice cop is compelled to investigate when a string of disappearances, culminating in murder, strikes too close to home. After 18 years with the West Yorkshire Police, Vince McNulty has been abruptly fired for misconduct. A firestorm of bad press hasn't helped. McNulty now spends most days watching old movies and getting erotic massages, at first on the outskirts of his former stomping grounds. But so aimless is his life and so deep his addiction that he starts patronizing the same parlors he used to bust as a vice cop in Leeds and its vicinity: the Northern X chain. Unbeknownst to McNulty, girls from several of these clubs have recently vanished. The mystery takes a darker turn when the corpse of one masseuse is discovered next to an oil drum. CCTV footage depicts the Vauxhall Astra of McNulty, whose past difficulties are well-known to the Ecclesfield Station's weary Inspector Tynan, the man working the case. Unfortunately for him, McNulty has been disorderly in more than one parlor of late. He hooks up with petty criminal Donkey "Donk" Flowers to learn the word on the street. They walk back to McNulty's flat, where they find another body, and Donk lights a match before McNulty can tell him that he smells gas. And that's only half the story. A retired cop himself, Campbell crafts a familiar plot in his sixth novel (Blue Knight, White Cross, 2009, etc.). But every detail feels authentic, and his dark, muscular prose suggests the best pulp writers of the '50s.