Joseph Knox: Sirens


I received a free physical copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Isabelle Rossiter has run away again.

When Aidan Waits, a troubled junior detective, is summoned to her father’s penthouse home – he finds a manipulative man, with powerful friends.

But retracing Isabelle’s steps through a dark, nocturnal world, Waits finds something else. An intelligent seventeen-year-old girl who’s scared to death of something. As he investigates her story, and the unsolved disappearances of a young woman just like her, he realises Isabelle was right to run away.

Soon Waits is cut loose by his superiors, stalked by an unseen killer and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. He’s out of his depth and out of time. How can he save the girl, when he can’t even save himself?

Sirens is the debut novel by Jospeh Knox; a crime novel that follows Aidan Waits, a disgraced junior detective who has a liking for drugs and alcohol. He’s fallen down the rungs of the police division and, while he awaits trial for stealing drugs from the evidence room, is put undercover to seek out information about Franchise and a drug dealer/supplier by the name of Zain Carver. Mixed up amongst all this is David Rossiter’s daughter who has been missing for a month. Waits, following his orders given to him by David, becomes more deeply involved with these people; relationships become skewed and his alliances change as he delves deeper into the secrets of some of the most powerful people in the city.

There isn’t a novel, that I have read, that I can liken this too. Sirens is a novel that is all at once dark, mysterious, gripping, fast-paced, and full of everything that stays hidden in the night. Aidan Waits is your typical bad boy detective: he has an edge about him that tells you he doesn’t take crap from anyone and will easily take matters into his own hands. But, deep down there are emotions locked up tight, emotions that one young woman manages to grab hold of. Not only that but, his emotions get the better of him as his allegiances change and he begins to respect those he has become involved with, helping them to seek out the truth. I felt that, throughout the novel Aidan Waits remained this mysterious guy. We get drip-fed information about his past and begin to realise that he is, ultimately, alone in the world – he doesn’t try to make any emotional ties, usually. But, even though this information is provided, we don’t get to know a lot about Waits as a person; his likes and dislikes (other than drugs, alcohol, and people), his beliefs, dreams or wishes. He is allusive which adds to the dark and mysterious side of the novel.

The setting and the plot of the novel brilliantly fit with the overall feeling of mystery and everything being hidden away. The majority of the novel is set during the night when drugs, alcohol, and other illegal substances are more likely to be sold and pushed; when people are more likely to become involved with something they shouldn’t. A lot of the characters shroud themselves in darkness, with David Rossiter, for the most part, being solely lit by one lamp within his own apartment. It gives an air of mystery and suspense and suggests that there is more to these characters than is initially being put forward. The plot itself is an interesting one, though Waits is there to seek out information on Franchise and drugs, as well as information on Isabelle, the drugs themselves don’t really make much of a play until the last third of the book or so. Yes, they are always there and in plain sight, being used and abused, passed from hand to hand, but they don’t play a major role within the progression of the narrative until later in the novel, with the disappearance of Isabelle Rossiter and finding out the truth about a past suspect, Joanna Greenlaw, holding centre stage. Even though the novel is fast-paced (or I just read it really quickly!), the information is fed through nicely and it doesn’t feel like the novel is rushed and thrown at you.

This is a novel that I couldn’t put down, one that I believe should be read if you’re a fan of crime and detective novels. I felt that Sirens was different to any I had read before and was really well written and thought out. It’s a brilliant debut and one to be proud of and I can’t wait to find out more about Aidan Waits.


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