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Lockdown: the crime thriller that predicted a world in quarantine    by Peter May Amazon.com order for
Lockdown
by Peter May
Order:  USA  Can
Quercus, 2020 (2020)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Peter May, one of my favorite mystery authors, wrote Lockdown fifteen years ago, but was unable to get it published at the time. Set during a pandemic centered on London, England, it's oddly prescient. What's different from the current pandemic is that the local death rate in May's version is much higher (70-80%), while the global spread is much lower.

DI Jack MacNeil, is on his last day with London's Metropolitan Police when the body of a murdered child is found at a building site. London is under martial law and quarantine, making Jack's job even harder than usual, and powerful forces are tracking his investigation, ready to intervene if it gets anywhere near the truth.

An unusual assassin named Pinkie does whatever dirty work is needed, on the orders of a Mr. Smith. He tidies up loose ends, and is constantly one step ahead of MacNeil, while also watching his every move. The investigation becomes especially hard for the detective when he also has to deal with personal tragedy, but he stubbornly persists.

Assisting Jack in the investigation is forensic expert Amy Wu, who does a facial reconstruction from the little girl's skull and finds that she had a harelip. The teeth tell her that the the child was from 'one of the poorer developing countries'. Amy is in a wheelchair after a bad accident. She and Jack are in a close relationship.

The investigation leads them to a shocking discovery about the origins of the flu virus that's killing everyone. That discovery puts them in Pinkie's sights and leads to an explosive conclusion to this pandemic chiller. Don't miss it!

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