Jack Flynn has written an excellent thriller that, while it does include the FBI, the Irish mafia of Boston are not screaming in your face for once. OK, one of the lead characters is of Irish extraction, but he is not an Irish mafioso, which makes a pleasant change.

Harbour chief Cormack O’Connell has lived on both sides of the law, as anyone who has worked or organised longshore men and other dock workers all their life. He knows everything that is happening in the harbour and what is going through the port. He often receives his tribute from various sources. Unfortunately, there is someone who no longer wants to pay a tribute while at the same time wants to take control of the harbour and then move illegal drugs through the port.

Cormack’s daughter, Diamond, is a dangerous lady to know, she is both a lover and a fighter, but at the same time very much her own woman, having seen many things most nineteen year olds will never see in a lifetime. She is strong minded and knows what she wants, but is she prepared to become a pawn in a larger more dangerous game of cat and mouse?

Agent Kit Steele has managed to hunt her prey down, and Vincente Carpio is her prisoner, whether she can keep him locked up is a different matter. Carpio, besides having ice in his veins, is not afraid to kill, as the trail of dead bodies behind him proves. Can she get him to court without the cartel breaking him out? It does not help her lover also happens to be O’Connell, a criminal.

With a war waging along the harbour front, nobody is going to be safe, and the O’Connell family are front and centre. Cormack recognising that if he loses this war, he will not be put into retirement but into a cemetery plot. He will do whatever it takes to win this war, but it might cost him more than he wants.

An exciting and intense thriller that will keep you on edge throughout, especially when you realise that O’Connell is facing a foe that has no boundaries or depths that they are willing to reach. This really is a case of wanting to stay out of the water, as it is the water that could be the death of them.

Paul Diggett 5/5

Blood in the Water by Jack Flynn
Macmillan 9781509832354 hbk Oct 2019