For years Colin Harpur’s dubious boss, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles, ran an ‘arrangement’ with Mansel Shale and Panicking Ralph Ember, owner of the Monty Club: Iles would protect their drug businesses if they ensured peace on the streets.

But when a small-time crook’s house is firebombed and he and his daughter are both killed the pact is knocked sideways and gang war erupts. With the relaxation of drugs law legislation, Shale and Ember have serious competition. Their profits slide and an all-out battle for survival begins.

‘Most other British Police writers are foam rubber truncheons to James’ iron riot baton’
Time Out