It is 1981 and Detective Inspector Henry Hobbes is still reeling in the aftermath of the fire and fury of the Brixton riots. The battle lines of society - and the police force - are being redrawn on a daily basis.
A triumph, and while it is solidly situated in the real world, it has themes and tones that will certainly satisfy fans of his science fiction ... an ingeniously-plotted and multi-layered tale ... Though rooted in the real world, the whole book is suffused with a patina of the occult – not necessarily the paranormal or the supernatural, but the power that symbols can hold, and how the personas we construct for ourselves, the masks we wear, can in some way take on lives of their own ... If you can imagine the first series of the TV show True Detective, with its nightmarishly-unsettling murder investigation, but set in the south of England in the 1980s, then you’re some way to getting a handle on the rather unique tone Noon has brought to this crime story ... Noon is a master plotter, and all the secondary stories and sub-plots are firmly resolved to the reader’s satisfaction, while leaving them wanting to know more about Detective Inspector Hobbes.
Here is a novel set in the no man’s land between past and present, a fertile and constantly shifting territory whose precise boundaries are unique for each reader ... Readable and constantly surprising, the novel takes the form of the police procedural and pushes it in a variety of unexpected directions. It would be a pleasure to meet Hobbes and his colleagues again — though, judging by Noon’s past form, he may have something completely different up his sleeve.
Noon has a Ballardian understanding of the intoxicating magic of celebrity, and its impact on a text. He masterfully casts the spell of Bell’s dark glamour with tinctures of Bowie – his absence rather than his presence ... a belter. Hobbes’s journey into the underworlds of occult obsession and police violence is rich in social and subcultural detail, and Noon’s storytelling is assured and compelling.