“The Drop Zone” introduces T. J. Peterson. A police detective in an unnamed urban municipality in Eastern Canada. Peterson has lost his wife, his daughter, his faith in God and his fellow man – and quite possibly… his job. His wife he lost to a traffic accident while she was with another man. His daughter is a teenage runaway who torments him with silent video calls of a derelict room furnished with an unmade bed and empty syringes.
Peterson, burnt out and hungover, is tasked with solving the brutal murder of a Catholic priest. His investigations lead him to the dark and depraved world of teenage prostitution and sex trafficking.
The ‘Drop Zone‘ of the title is a condemned dockyard warehouse where homeless teenagers have left graffiti and the detritus of their desperate lives. This is a place that is deeply personal for Peterson because of his daughter. When he encounters a young woman in dire straits, he becomes more than invested in the outcome of his case.
The gritty subject matter of this novel gives it a ‘noir’ feel. A fast-paced novel with writing that moves the plot along with interest, including some jaw-dropping and at times heart-rending scenes.
Although the setting was unnamed, and the fact that artistic license was taken by the author, I acknowledge that the novel was loosely set in my home city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. His vivid descriptions ensured that there remained a frisson of recognition for certain places described.
The satisfying ending was tied up quite neatly, though the personal issues faced by Peterson are left open making room for further novels in a series.