One Way Out by A A Dhand
One Way Out is the fourth book by Bradford author, Amit Dhand featuring his controversial cop, Harry Virdee. While each of the crime stories in the books work perfectly well as stand-alones, the personal story of Harry and his family weaves its way relentlessly through the books in chronological order.
Each of Dhand’s books is dark, indeed they become progressively darker but this novel is definitely the bravest and most overtly political. One Way Out explores a chilling scenario that is only this frightening because it is credible.
IMMINENT SECURITY ALERT, LEAVE CITY PARK IMMEDIATELY.
DCI Harry Virdee has just enough time to get his son and his mother to safety before the bomb blows. But this is merely a stunt; there is worse to come.
A new and aggressive nationalist group, the Patriots, have hidden a second device under one of the city’s mosques. In exchange for the safe release of those at Friday prayers, the Patriots want custody of the leaders of radical Islamist group Almukhtareen – the chosen ones.
The government does not negotiate with terrorists. Even when thousands of lives are at risk.
But Harry’s wife is in one of those mosques. Left with no choice, Harry must find the Almukhtareen, to offer the Patriots his own deal. Because sometimes the only way to save lives, is to take them.
To my mind Harry Virdee is one of the most original and enigmatic detectives to appear on the fiction scene for years. He is a complex, multi-layered character and the stories Dhand weaves are exquisitely detailed. In One Way One the government is firm, it will not negotiate with terrorists. But Detective Harry Virdee’s wife has been taken hostage and he can see only one way out.
The novel is fast moving, tense, powerful and Harry very much in action mode from the very beginning, even if it isn’t quite clear exactly what is going on. One Way Out delves into the dark side of Bradford and explores the city riven by racial and political tensions.
On the occasions I have met Dhand at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, he is quiet, reserved, funny and modest. He does not exude the tensions that haunt his writing. I do enjoy action-packed and thrillers, but I was not ready for such the pacy, punchy, and current novel to slap me and make me long for more that Dhand has created here. I highly recommend One Way Out. It is excellent and would make for much discussion in a book group.
A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.