SPIDER TRAP - Barry Maitland

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

The bodies of two young girls are found, shot and discarded in an old abandoned warehouse in the Cockpit Lane district in Brixton, London. Nearby the activity of the police investigation sparks the interest of a young schoolboy who is obsessed with a school myth about "Brown Bread" and an abandoned wasteland near the warehouse and his school. Nobody really knows what "Brown Bread" is, but the whole school has known for years that it's hidden on that bit of wasteland. The problem is that the wasteland reveals 3 skeletons and they don't seem to be the "Brown Bread" that everyone's been talking about. The skeletons have been there since the Brixton riots around 20 years ago.

The Cockpit Lane area is the heart of the West Indian Community in London and Brock has previous history with them, and with one of the original crime families from before the West Indian invasion. The Roach family are now worth serious money and it seems, have gone straight, but it was a different story for them at the time of the Brixton riots.

There was something really engaging about this book. The investigation of the death of the two girls is sidelined by the discovery of the 3 skeletons, but there are some elegant twists and turns which tie everything together. There are some really engaging and involving stories around the victims, the West Indian Community and how many of the younger members of that community came to be in London. There is a great supporting cast within the West Indian community, and there are some complicated and involving connections between them, Brock, Kolla, the victims and the local villains. These interplaying connections added a level of reality to the entire storyline. There is some private life goings on for both Brock and Kolla. Brock's personal life story goes to how he reacts and feels about being dragged back into his own past. Kolla's becomes integral to the storyline of the investigation but is not a distraction from that.

SPIDER TRAP is ultimately a really engaging story which is very readable.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Skeletons are discovered in Cockpit Lane, a poor black area of inner south London, and DCI David Brock and DS Kathy Kolla of Scotland Yard's Serious Crimes Branch are called in to investigate. The discovery that the victims died on the day of the Brixton riots, over twenty years before, lead Brock and Kolla on a dark and dangerous journey into the heart of the West Indian community in London - a journey in which past and present come together in an intricate web of deception and intrigue, as Brock re-discovers the hand of a formidable old antagonist, Spider Roach.

In a desperate search to find a crucial piece of missing evidence, Brock and Kathy unwittingly set in train a series of events that end in a shocking, violent conclusion.

Review SPIDER TRAP - Barry Maitland
Karen Chisholm
Monday, October 1, 2007
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