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Justice for the Damned

Ben Cheetham

Justice For The Damned (Steel City III)


Thirty years of fear.  


A Sheffield prostitute has disappeared. With no family to fight for her, she's just the latest in a long line of missing girls stretching back three decades. Nobody cares about their names. Nobody remembers their faces. They are the unloved, the damaged, the forgotten, the damned...


Thirty years of closed minds.


Amongst the women working South Yorkshire's streets, rumours of a serial killer have long circulated. But the police's top brass don't want to know about it. Talk of serial killers panics the public and embarrasses the department...


It is all about to change.


But two very different detectives, each driven by their own dangerous obsessions, are being drawn into a murky world of perversion, murder and corruption that stretches from the streets to the corridors of power.

Justice For The Damned picks up just after Angel of Death left off and it helps to know the backstory. Not to spoil your enjoyment of the earlier developments I’ll keep my plot summary vague. Bryan Reynolds is tooled up, prepared to get his hands dirty with this one. It’s personal. But before justice can be meted out Reynolds is taken by surprise, violently so.


Jim Monaghan is back as the Detective. Partly responsible for Reynolds' actions he’s unaware of the developments, in hospital after a heart attack.


There’s a list of names, abusers, some high ranking. Finding this list is on many people’s ‘to do’ list.


What follows is a gritty tale of troubled relationships, with several characters fighting to make things work out. There’re bent coppers and authority figures, pimps, and gangsters galore. Money is being skimmed off everywhere. Family ties are strained and it’s not just evidence that’s missing, people have also disappeared.  


There’s some great black comedy when the thugs realise who they’re nabbed, and a memorable ruthless sadists is introduced to help explain events. From a recluse journo’ to a one-eyed torturer the characters are entertaining.


I like Jim Monaghan and the thoughts he has for his wife play out well in this instalment which brings matters to a head.

The ending is, in keeping with the rest of the book, brutal. This is a violent novel that would make a cool British gangster flick.



About Ben Cheetham:

Born in 1976 in Stafford, England, Ben Cheetham moved to Sheffield in 1997 to study archaeology. He's been there ever since. His early years in Sheffield were divided between studying, writing and rock climbing. His days of digging up pottery shards and dragging himself up nerve-shredding cliffs have been consigned to the past. Nowadays - when he's not chasing around after his son, Alex - he spends most of his time shut away in his study racking his brain for the next paragraph, the next sentence, the next word.

Ben is an award winning writer and Pushcart Prize nominee. His writing spans the genres from horror and sci-fic to literary fiction, but he has a passion for gritty crime fiction. His short stories have been widely published in the UK, US and Australia. In 2011 he self-published 'Blood Guilt' as an e-book. The novel went on to reach no.2 in the national e-book download chart, selling well over 100000 copies. In 2012 it was picked up for publication by Head Of Zeus.

Ben's writing stems from a desire to confront the darker side of human nature, a need to answer questions that wouldn't exist in an ideal world. Questions like: how far would you go to protect a child from the human monsters that stalk our streets? Would you break the law? Would you kill? Could you? And if you did, what would that make you? A hero? Or a monster yourself? The brutal enforcers from the cop movies of the past wouldn't hesitate a heartbeat to cross that line. Today's internet-connected world is more complex. And real people are infinitely more complex. Those are the kinds of people Ben writes about. People who question and agonise. People full of doubts and fears. People who even if they would cross that line, don't know if they could or should.


(Taken from his website)

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