Book #1, the Joe Romano crime series.

HQ/HarperCollins, June 2021

When a small-time drug dealer goes missing, no one in Leeds CID shows much interest. But the young man’s mother is desperate, and DS Joe Romano promises he’ll do what he can. Recently divorced, and his son having just left for university, it’s not as if Joe has anything better to do with his spare time.

What he finds makes no sense, but raises a lot of questions. Are all lives worth saving? Or should they be weighed against the misery that they’ve caused? Is the well-being of a drug dealer really the concern of the police, or does he deserve everything he gets?

As the case escalates, Rita Scannon-Aktar, a half-Bangladeshi DS from the neighbouring Kirkless force, is brought in to help. Deeply embedded in the old mill towns of West Yorkshire they find a racist vigilante movement, one which not only feeds on the rising tide of English nationalistic fervour in a Brexit-convulsed northern England, but has declared open war on the region’s drugs culture.

As news of the case spreads, it seems that more and more members of the public support the idea of direct action. And that includes some members of the police. As events spiral out of Joe’s control, a web of person betrayal threatens his position on the Force. Then he becomes part of the story . . .

Set against a backdrop of the North’s grooming gangs and the drugs culture of the West Yorkshire valleys, RIGHT TO KILL is a fast-paced police procedural that asks whether everyone has the right to defend and protect – and to be protected.