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Penance by Dan O'Shea


Picture the scene. A seemingly harmless old lady is leaving confession at her local church when she is instantly shot dead by a sniper from a highly skilled, near impossible shot. 

This is how Chapter One of Penance begins. That gives you a startling glimpse of the shocking, highly technical gun murders which come fast and furious over the course of the story. 

The guy responsible for solving the case is Detective John Lynch, the son of a murdered cop who starts sifting through decades of criminal conspiracies and city secrets. He finds himself looking for the truth not only about the sniper murders but also about the death of his father, trying not to get himself or his loved ones killed in the process.

I haven’t read a crime novel this raw and gritty for a while; even with the trips back in time to the roots of the corruption, I found this to be a modern and fast-paced read. John Lynch is an intelligent, strong lead and I really liked his relationship with journalist Liz Johnson; a potentially disastrous coupling of police and press but these two make it work. There is an extensive cast of interesting characters; law abiding citizens and their polar opposites all living their lives in the chaos of the city. 

Full of powerful people and their even more powerful secrets, Penance is a complex thriller, perfectly set against the Chicago city backdrop. A must read for die hard crime fiction fans. 

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