Review: The Rule of Fear by Luke Delaney

Wednesday 24 August 2016
Title: The Rule of Fear
Author: Luke Delaney
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: 30th June 2016
Pages: 432
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
Sergeant Jack King is back on active duty after months off following a violent encounter. On the Met’s promotional fast-track scheme, King is headed straight for the top, but policing the streets is where his heart truly lies.

Tasked with cleaning up the notorious Grove Wood estate, King is determined to rise to the challenge. But it’s not just drug dealers and petty thugs his team have to worry about. Someone on the estate is preying on children, and they need to find the culprit, fast.

Soon King finds himself over his head: the local residents won’t play ball, his superiors want results yesterday, and he’s refusing to admit that he’s suffering from PTSD. As the pressures combine, the line between right and wrong starts to blur and King finds himself in a downward spiral. Only he can save himself – but is it already too late?

I am a huge fan of Luke Delaney's DI Sean Corrigan series because Luke brings to the crime writing world a gritty authenticity that few other authors can match because of his policing background and knowledge. I was more than a little apprehensive when I read that The Rule of Fear was a standalone. Even some of the bestselling authors in this genre have released some duds when they decide to take a break from their main characters. The Rule of Fear is absolutely not a dud. It has consumed me over the past 24 hours as I have done little else but pick this book up at every available opportunity.

There is so much that I want to say about The Rule of Fear but I have no idea where to start. It's an incredibly dark read, and I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. I can see that it won't be for everyone, but it's stark realism is perhaps what made it at times such a frightening read. This is a story that could all so easily happen to any police officer. Our main character is Jack King, an officer with an extremely bright future within the police force, and he is tasked with cleaning up the notorious Grove Wood estate. King takes on this job after he returns to work following a traumatic event, and it's the aftermath of this event that is the beginning of the downward spiral that King soon finds himself on.

The Rule of Fear is a book that would be so much easier to discuss with someone who has already read it and I imagine it would make for a lively discussion amongst book club members. Jack King isn't a wholly dislikeable character because in the beginning of the story he has ambition and drive, and a determination to, within the confines of the law, clean up the Grove Wood estate. On paper this is a task force that should work, but King soon finds himself making some very bad decisions and despite the fact I felt that I should be hating him for some of the decisions that he made, I actually found myself looking at the bigger picture and seeing that this was a man who clearly needed help, but who refused it whenever it was offered. Obviously there wouldn't be a story had King just willingly sought out help for his PTSD but at the same time it was the behaviour of some of the officers higher up the food chain that left a sour taste in my mouth because they weren't ill and it was a real shame to read about an individual such as King going off on this spiral because of something he witnessed on the job. That said, there were times in the story where King did show remorse, sometimes even guilt, for his actions and so it wouldn't be fair to put the blame fully on his illness. He seemed more than aware at times of what he was doing and that made the story both very dangerous and unpredictable. And extremely addictive to read. The fact I am so torn over how I truly felt about King as a character just shows what a divisive book this could be, and why it would make for a great discussion.

Luke Delaney is a fantastic writer, and the sense of place here is frighteningly real. The estate is brought to life thanks to some vivid writing and it felt at times that I was on the estate myself. This was one of those books that I just lose myself in, where I am oblivious to the outside world. It was gripping, it was frightening and at times it was an uncomfortable read because of the turns that the story took in places but that feeling of uncomfortableness, for me at least, came from how real this story felt and how much I wished that King would get some help. Some might look at it and think would it really happen? I honestly think that it could. As the book drew to a close I really didn't want it to end, but at the same time I couldn't wait to see how it would end. The closing pages played out in my head almost in slow motion, and I actually felt genuine and real emotion for the characters within the pages. Fictional characters yes, but with a story behind them that felt all too believable and so I will not be forgetting this story or the characters in a hurry. I think this book would be fantastic if it was serialised on TV, and I would cast somebody like Danny Miller in the role of Jack King. I believe there's talk of the Corrigan series being made into a TV series but this is the book that I think would work incredibly well.

The Rule of Fear really is a fantastic read, but it won't be for everyone. I would say to those hesitant to read it that you really should take a chance on it. It's a believable insight into somebody suffering from PTSD and how that can have an effect on their lives and career. I do think it's quite a controversial read and despite the fact it is as I said a dark read in places, it would be interesting to know how many drafts it went through and whether it was ever toned down in places. I cannot recommend The Rule of Fear highly enough, it is a truly unforgettable story and if it's on your TBR, move it up the pile. If it's not on your TBR, get it on there. I am really excited to read what Luke brings us next (in fact, I would like to read more from some of the characters featured in The Rule of Fear if possible).

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Excellent review Shaun; you're so good at expressing how a book makes you feel, and who and what it would be suitable for. By the way on you and Christine at Northern Crime's recommendation I've finally started reading Luca Veste - hard to believe Dead Gone is a debut! Can't believe I bought them and had them sitting so long! Thanks for the heads up! Hope you're good - Mr C went out other day and came back with the Liverpool away strip, the black one, cos as you know he's a Celtic fan and the two clubs are close (he won £200 at the bookies on a £2.50 bet; usually I moan when he goes in there but not that day! Great to have the football back - and we've got your last manager now!)


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