Joe Donovan is a Newcastle-based information broker whose son went missing. With his band of misfits Peta, Jamal and Amar who all struggle with addictions he formed the company Albion. In this novel they are hired to prove the truth of Michael Nell's alibi, an S&M lover who is suspected of being a serial killer.
Through another case they become involved with a prostitute from Eastern Europe, Katya and the horror of the war she fled.
Joe and his misfits as well as the horrible truths the writing exposes made me think of Andre Vachss' Burke. No surprise then that Martyn is a fan of his work.
This is a very dark, well-structured and thrilling novel. I was sorry I didn't see more of Joe in the novel himself because I really felt he's a character that can carry a book, not yet in need of relying on the supporting cast.