Mark O'Sullivan returns with the second of his Inspector Leo Woods mysteries, Sleeping Dogs, as we re-acquaint ourselves with the middle-aged Dublin police officer who is also a former UN peacekeeper who has a drug habit and suffers with the disfigurement of Bell's Palsy.
Woods' new case revolves around the shooting of gangland leader, Harry Larkin, who has been shot three times and is dying in a Dublin hospital. Whilst ranting in his final moments of lucidity, he speaks to nurse Eveleen, 'find my daughter, Whitney'.
So begins the caper as Whitney a gangster's daughter has gone missing, a hit and run accident is linked to the shooting of Harry, and whilst Leo along with his partner Helen Troy, start digging they find more and more secrets about the Larkin's family history as acts of abuse and murder rear its ugly head.
O'Sullivan brings a calm to his writing, never rushing scenes with dialogue when not necessary, establishing scenes and landscape with great purpose. However, at times the plotting can get a bit confusing in terms of recalling the timeline of past events with the present day; and the inclusion of a deaf lead protagonist is whilst novel a bit endangering to any screen adaptation. Also the possible love interest for Leo never materialises and is somewhat dismissed quickly without a real explanation.
That being said, Leo Woods is a great leading character; feisty, tough, bold and funny whilst still being world weary. The world of police politics is prevalent and acutely obtained in the depiction of Woods' superintendent who has ambitions of a pundit on Irish television's own Crimewatch; and the cast of characters allows for more stories to be told. This reader for one would like to see more of Woods and Troy together, as they spend a lot of this narrative apart due to procedures.
Do not let sleeping dogs lie, in fact you will struggle to put the book down.
Sleeping Dogs is out now in Hardback from Random House and Transworld Publishers