Two O’clo ck Boy BY MARK HILL
BY MARK HILL (SPHERE) OUT 6 APRIL
Mark Hill has had previous careers as a journalist and as an award-winning producer for BBC Radio 2. Of course, none of this necessarily qualifies him to write the kind of storming debut that is now de rigueur for any fledgling crime writer wishing to make a mark, but that is exactly what he’s done in this ambitious novel. Two O’clock Boy takes the clichés of the modern police procedural and forges them into something new and impressive.
The protagonist is morally ambiguous copper DI Ray Drake – familiar, yes, but this is an interesting variation on the typical crime fiction character. Prior to the narrative, a children’s home, Longacre, was razed to the ground. In the present a sinister figure, the titular “Two O’clock Boy”, appears to be in the process of violently eliminating all of those who were brought up in the home. It’s Drake’s job to track down this murderer, but there are complications arising from the night of the fire which have massive significance for the troubled detective.
Those feeling we do not need another crime series set in the capital (and who could blame them?) will very soon change their minds after tackling this authoritatively written and unsettling debut novel. At a stroke, Mark Hill has joined the upper echelons of London crime writers.