Joe Donovan Book 3
Joe Donovan's back.
The body is discovered in a rundown area of Newcastle. A Muslim student, savagely beaten to death, then torched. Blame falls on the far right National Unity Party but for once they appear to be innocent. In fact, with elections looming, they are poised to make significant gains.
Not the best time for Trevor Whitman, ex-Seventies radical, to return to his native North East. He's haunted by his violent past and receiving death threats over the murder of a policeman years ago. Joe Donovan and Peta Knight are called in to investigate.
After the death of a supposed would-be suicide bomber, the investigation takes on a more dangerous form as Donovan and the rest of his team enter the dark, twisted heart of radical urban politics, where players on all sides hide their true agendas behind masks of hatred. The investigation also cuts dangerously close to home for Peta, forcing her to reconsider every belief she has ever held.
Soon Donovan and his team are the targets of a ruthless killer unlike any they have ever faced before. A killer who will do anything to ensure a potentially explosive thirty-year secret remains buried. Anything, no matter who stands in his way. Anything, even orchestrating a brutal race war that will tear the city apart.
Donovan and his team will need all their wits and skill to get out alive. But he has something else on his mind. Because he's tracked down his missing son.
Or thinks he has...
Extremism has always fascinated me. I've always found it an excuse for disappointed individuals to find a scapegoat to blame for how shitty their lives are. Then to externalise that feeling and go and attack someone. It's the opposite of a common shared humanity. And whether these people are acting from religious or political convictions they're all areseholes. Now I thoroughly agree with that. But I'm also intelligent enough to realise that these individuals aren't created in vacuums. There's cause and effect at work here. They might do monstrous things but they didn't start out that way. They were taught, encouraged and nurtured to do that. That was what I wanted to explore in White Riot.
I also wanted to look at the definition of terrorism. Back in the Seventies when organisations like the Weather Underground and the Angry Brigade were at their height, they were considered freedom fighters, doing what they did for the greater good. Would they still be considered that way now? Was it right to look at them that way then?
Step forward Trevor Whitman . . .
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'It's fair to say that the latest book in the Newcastle-based Joe Donovan series is not a particularly good advertisement for that city. White Riot is written in the sort of bovver-boots-and-dustbin-lids staccato prose that doesn't so much leap off the page as threaten to smack the reader in the mouth. That said, the suspense is fuelled as much by pathos as by sound and fury, and it will reward those who linger to savour its subtleties.'
—Laura Wilson, The Guardian
Pocket Books, UK paperback, January 2008, ISBN: 9781847390585
Pegaus, US hardcover, March 2009, ISBN: 9781605980270
Pegasus, US paperback, June 2010, ISBN: 9781605980959