Sunset by Al Lamanda

Twelve years ago John Bekker was a cop with a loving wife – Carol, and a beautiful five year old daughter – Regan. But when his wife was brutally raped and murdered with his daughter watching on, life as Bekker knew it came to an end. Since then, Bekker has survived on a disability pension, living in a trailer, permanently drunk. Regan has been institutionalised for 12 years and has not spoken a word in this time. At the time, Bekker was part of a task force investigating organised crime, and one of their chief targets was crime boss Eddie Crist. Eddie’s son – Michael, was suspected of organising Carol’s rape and murder – as a warning to Bekker to back off. But, nothing could ever be proven. Now 12 years later, Eddie Crist is dying of cancer. Michael was murdered a few years earlier. And, Eddie has decided that before he dies he wants to know what really happened to Carol and if his son is guilty or innocent. Crist has decided that the best person to investigate Carol’s death is John Bekker and puts him through a rapid detox, then hires him to solve the crime. As soon as Bekker starts to investigate, his colleagues and remaining family are targeted by killers. Obviously someone wants the truth to stay buried. But with everything to gain and nothing to lose, Bekker is unstoppable!

The plot and the twists and turns of this novel were excellent, and the way in which the book was written made it a pleasure to read. I had various suspects in mind through the story, but was wrong in most cases. Probably my only criticism would be that Bekker and Oz got their acts together a bit too easily after years of drinking. I’ll certainly be looking out for more from Al Lamanda in the future, and I may go back to some of his earlier novels as well – ‘Dunston Falls, ‘Walking Homeless’ and ‘Running Homeless’.   Book Published 2012

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