Stuart Neville's Detective Inspector Jack Lennon must be one of the most tortured cops on the planet. He alienated many members of his family by joining the Belfast police force during the time of the "Troubles," and his life since has been filled with tragedy. But he pushes doggedly forward, doing the best he can to resolve the crimes that come his way while at the same time attempting to raise his young daughter, Ellen, as a single parent.
It's no easy job and it becomes increasingly complicated at Christmastime. A young woman named Galya Petrova had been lured to Ireland by Lithuanian gangsters who promised her a job as a nanny. Once in Ireland, though, the gangsters intend to put her to work as a prostitute along with any number of other stolen souls. But Gayla manages to kill one of the gangsters who has decided to "break her in." She escapes the apartment where she was being held and is on the run.
The man she killed was the brother of a major Lithuanian crime boss named Arturas Strazdas. A furious Strazdas orders Gayla hunted down and killed, but she then manages to fall into the hands of a man who may be even more dangerous than Strazdas, at least in the near term. As the hunt for Gayla goes on, the bodies begin falling left and right, and Lennon's plans for a happy, quiet Christmas with his daughter go out the window as well.
It's a harrowing story that takes the reader deep into the tragedy of the modern-day trade in sex slaves. Gayla proves to be a smart and determined young woman, but the odds against her are overwhelming and those weighing against Jack Lennon aren't all that much better. This is another very good entry in this series.