Thursday, 16 June 2016

Streets of Darkness

Born and bred in Bradford, A. A. Dhand is a befitting example of write what you know. Dhand has written a gritty and gripping thriller for his first book entitled Streets of Darkness, featuring a new anti-hero Detective Harry Virdee. 

Harry (or Hardeep) is suspended when we meet him, yet enlisted to help with a murder enquiry off the books to save his career. Harry has a lot going on in his life, his Muslim wife is expecting their first child and his marriage is a question of contention as Harry is a Sikh and mixed faith marriages are frowned upon in general especially in such a sub-contential bastion as Bradford is. The mixing of faith, religion and politics is one of the key storylines running in the book.

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A A Dhand, the author of Streets of Darkness

The book is being pitched as a mix of the questionable hero like Luther and the hard nose naturalism of The Wire, and in Dhand's prose he does not hold back writing very graphic descriptions of drug use and violence seemingly paramount within the day in the life narrative. 

Mixing many tropes of the thriller genre - race against time, rivals from different backgrounds having to work together and put differences aside, are you on the right side of the law - Dhand writes with a crispness and pace that is good to see in a new British writer following in the footsteps of Lee Child, who many think of as a naturalised American.

Dhand writes with intelligence about religion and respect to his home town yet never wavering from his zest for character and narrative.  He has a keen eye for observational detail in characters be they periphery or central, and can inject little details such as when Harry sneezes when he enters a disused boxing gym due to the swirling of dust, a small detail that is sometimes overlooked in bigger thrillers on page and screen.

The film rights have already been optioned, and if they can find the right actor of Muslim hertiage then perhaps they can have a great series or film on their hands. My call to play Harry would be Arsher Ali, while he plays socially awkward characters or insecure souls, he has a bit of recognition in terms of his appearances in Line of Duty and The Missing, and if he can beef up a bit then he has the range to do Harry justice.

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Arsher Ali is Harry Virdee

Streets of Darkness is both page turning and can leave you wincing at the bleakness of human nature, but in this day and age it is good to see a book that is entrenched in reality and not sugar coating such matters as inter-racial marriage, race hate crimes and political corruption.

Streets of Darkness is released by Bantam Press on 16th June for £12.99 in Hardback and £7.99 on Kindle

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