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Harry Virdee #1

Streets of Darkness

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The sky over Bradford is heavy with foreboding. It always is. But this morning it has reason to be – this morning a body has been found. And it’s not just any body.

Detective Harry Virdee should be at home with his wife. Impending fatherhood should be all he can think about but he’s been suspended from work just as the biggest case of the year lands on what would have been his desk. He can’t keep himself away.

Determined to restore his reputation, Harry is obliged to take to the shadows in search of notorious ex-convict and prime suspect, Lucas Dwight. But as the motivations of the murder threaten to tip an already unstable city into riotous anarchy, Harry finds his preconceptions turned on their head as he discovers what it’s like to be on the other side of the law…

320 pages, Paperback

First published June 16, 2016

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About the author

A.A. Dhand

8 books121 followers
A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 223 reviews
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,379 reviews7,089 followers
April 13, 2017
*Thank you to Netgalley and Random House UK, Transworld publishers for my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review*

Bradford is a city in the north of England, a city that played a huge part in the industrial revolution of the late 18th century. It was renowned throughout the world for its massive textile production, which in turn brought huge wealth to this city. The Bradford of today however is a completely different place, and it's here that we're introduced to the fictional character of Detective Harry Virdee.

Harry is currently suspended from his job for being somewhat 'heavy handed', and is facing a hearing that could see him losing his job, after all, this isn't the first time he's gone against the rules and done things his own way.

As the story begins, Harry is out on his early morning run, when he comes across the crucified body of the newly elected Asian MP for Bradford, Shakeel Ahmed. Ahmed is a local leading light, with many business, as well as political interests. DNA implicates Lucas Dwight, former leader of the BNP, and newly released from prison. Dwight was the instigator of the infamous 2001 Bradford riots. Although Harry is suspended, his boss Superintendent George Simpson asks him to work undercover to bring Dwight to justice and hopefully avoid a repeat of the 2001 riots.

Harry has always played by his own rules, and if that means that somebody has to get hurt in order for him to achieve his end goal, then so be it. Harry is a Sikh who's married to Muslim Saima, and right now he should be home with her preparing for the impending birth of their first born child, but unfortunately they're both going to go through hell before that happens.

Wow! this is a fantastic debut novel. Author A.A.Dhand explores the cultural and religious differences of a Sikh/Muslim marriage, with Harry and Saima no longer being able to rely on the love or support of their respective families, each having been disowned for committing the ultimate sin of marrying out of their religion. He also gives us a ringside seat into inner city tensions that are always simmering and seething, just waiting to spill over into violence, at the slightest provocation . Then of course there are the drugs - the gangs fighting for supremacy, for which the losers may pay the ultimate price. Oh my goodness! It was so exciting at times, I found it hard to catch my breath. This is a grim offering, and although it's a work of fiction, it's one that should be read - it includes horrendous violence, but this is the reality of life when important issues are left unresolved, and begin to fester. An excellent read, and one of which the author should be justifiably proud!
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,600 reviews24.8k followers
June 7, 2016
There are a few books in crime fiction that transcend their genre, this is one of them. The Streets of Darkness brings us a distinct contribution that reflects issues and characters that bring us a vivid picture of contemporary Britain. More specifically, it's about Bradford. The city is the large canvas within which the story takes place and the characters exist. They are authentically and peculiarly Bradford people, through whom Dhand exercises his storytelling gifts.

Bradford, its history of the mills and once the richest of cities, is now empty of prospects. It has high unemployment, is teetering on the knife edge of racial and religious meltdown, is drug fuelled and lacking hope. In 2001, it erupted into despairing race riots and Bradford burned. It is within this background that the story begins with Sikh DI Harry Virdee discovering the crucified body of a just elected local Asian MP with a swastika carved on his body at Bradford Grammar School. The initial evidence suggests that the perpetrator is Lucas Dwight, an extreme member of the BNP. The city is a tinderbox in which it would take very little for history to repeat itself.

Harry is suspended from the police whilst awaiting to answer charges at a hearing. To improve his chances at the hearing, Superintendent George Simpson asks Harry to go undercover and authorises him to work without rules and do whatever is necessary to locate Lucas and prevent the city going up in flames. Harry has a dark hole in his soul, is married to Saima, a muslim, who is heavily pregnant. This is a no-no for the Sikhs and the Muslims, and the star crossed lovers are ostracised by both their families and their respective communities. He hunts Lucas down and it soon becomes clear that nothing is as it seems, Lucas is not the killer and there are ruthless forces that are determined that Lucas ends up dead. Improbably, Harry finds himself partnering Lucas in an attempt to discover what is going on.

It becomes clear that there is a group who is manipulating Bradford's communities with a view towards inciting and benefiting from riots. Into this toxic mix is the BNP, a hidden drug war, the menacing Bashir, Zain, the son of the murdered MP, shadowy figures, the biggest Asian Mela celebrations in Europe, and a Superintendant Simpson facing horrendous personal problems and the unenviable task of ensuring Bradford remains safe. With his pregnant wife in danger, and a violent blood drenched trail, Harry is a man who will do whatever needs to be done, but will he survive? There is a gut wrenching final twist that leads to the novel ending with a moral quandary.

This is an assured novel with outstanding plotlines. Dhand has constructed a ferociously compelling story with subtle and nuanced characters that develop, face redemption, discover the power of forgiveness, atonement, and humanity. The book hinges on themes of how the past infiltrates the present, conflict, greed, betrayal, love, loss, and family. Harry and Saima, and their new born son, offer a spark of hope for unity in a religiously divided city which could sorely use it. Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.
Profile Image for Jess☺️.
470 reviews83 followers
September 20, 2019
Streets Of Darkness by A.A. Dhand is the first in the Harry Virdee series and it a great gripping start.
It's a great pulse pounding police thriller from start to finish, it starts with Harry Virdee on suspension from the police for beating a man almost to death (you'll have to read it to find out why😉) and his boss wanting him to work on his own to find a killer.
There are so many twists and turns at every moment also not everyone is who they say they are and they all have some kind of secret or an agenda.
I definitely recommend this book 📖
Profile Image for Louise Wilson.
2,744 reviews1,616 followers
July 1, 2016
Set in Bradford this crime story mixed with religion is gripping from the start.

DI Harry Virdee is suspended from work when he discovers the crucified body of Shakeel Ahmed newly elected MP for Bradford West.

Blood found at the scene has been identified as Lucas Dwights a member of the BNP recently released after 14 years in prison.

Harry is Sikh and married to a heavily pregnant Muslim woman who are both estranged from their families because they chose to marry outside their religion.

This is a brilliant debut novel. Fast paced, action packed with twists you won't see coming.

I would like to thank Net Galley, Random House UK Transworld Publishing for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
March 31, 2017
A.A. Dhand has borrowed from the recent history of Bradford in terms of race relations and economic deprivation, added a shot in the arm of drugs, prostitution, corruption and sleaze and overlaid with a general malaise. The result is a little heavy on the melodrama and leaves Streets of Darkness feeling like a story which lives or dies on the turn of race relations in the city. Bradford is not unique is having seen the decline of the traditional industries which established their former prosperity but the city's tempestuous history of racial tension, climaxing with the riots of 2001 have left a lasting legacy on Bradford. Suspended cop, Detective Hardeep "Harry" Virdee jogs through the empty streets of Bradford contemplating his upcoming IPCC investigation which to all intents and purposes seems a foregone conclusion. His superior and boss, Detective Superintendent George Simpson has even conceded that he cannot save an officer with an admittedly prolific clear-up rate for his cases but an equally mottled conduct record. As Virdee ponders his many frustrations in life he still has to tackle breaking the news of his suspension to wife, Saima and with their first child a week overdue the last thing they need is to be facing fears about their future livelihood.

When Harry's run brings him face to face with the mutilated corpse of Bradford's most notable Asian son and the new Bradford West election winner, Shakeel Ahmed, he quickly senses the furore that will arise across the community. As a hugely influential businessman and the man who had tried to reverse Bradford's decline, his crudely crucified body with a swastika brutally carved into the middle of his chest clearly threatens an uprising and on the eve of the city's celebration of Asian culture - the Mela - and the festival of Eid, a backlash could see a repeat of 2001 riots. Encountering his boss at the crime scene just five days off of retirement, his superior proposes a way to assuage the opinions of the IPCC investigation board and given that Harry has nothing to lose and a chance to resurrect his career he is soon on board. When Simpson reveals that the DNA of former BNP leader and the newly released Lucas Dwight has been identified at the home where Shakeel Ahmed was kidnapped from, he tasks Harry with a twelve-hour deadline to bring Dwight in and end his tenure as Detective Superintendent with a peaceful legacy. However, things are never as simple as they appear and any crime fiction fan will testify, if Lucas Dwight had committed the murder it would make for a pretty dull plot.. As Harry comes to doubt Dwight's involvement in the murder and it soon becomes clear that the manipulation of Bradford and the its ensuing tensions in fact go far higher up the food chain. The expression "as straight as a die" goes out the window as Dhand introduces a motley assortment of characters, from the son of Shakeel Ahmed attempting to flex his muscle and continue his father's work, to Bashir, a sinister cabbie with a thirst for blood, smooth-talking BNP leader Martin David right through to brutal Colin Reed, who heads up a sister party to the BNP. As Harry operates with plenty of brute force of his own he quickly discovers that a drugs turf war and not in fact a racial motivation murder is behind events, but whether he alone can safe Bradford from a racial meltdown in the remaining hours is another matter entirely.

Streets of Darkness is an enjoyable and entertaining novel, which flies past rapidly but represented little more than that for me. Rife with stereotypes and featuring a variety of tropes, I was disappointed that this lacked originality from the maverick lone-wolf Harry Virdee throwing caution to the wind, consistently behaving recklessly and with a history of questionable friendships. Virdee almost feels like a hard boiled gumshoe straight out of a American pulp thriller! I was under the impression that this was a police procedural novel but from the opening moments in reads like an edgy thriller, where artistic license is heavily employed. Jam packed with action and with a brutal tension pervading throughout, Streets of Darkness will certainly be popular amongst readers. Although I agree that reading tastes are a very subjective matter, I cannot help thinking that the skin colours and racial backdrop which has been heavily lauded has played a part in the rave reviews of the literary press when this novel is really a simple gangland turf war and nothing too imaginative.

I will be very interested in seeing where the future of DI Harry Virdee lies when he returns in a second encounter and whether he plays by the rules of legitimate policing or continues to dispense the justice that he sees fit. Harry is hot-headed, combustible and a character on the edge, almost waiting to spill over and go one step too far. However, i want more than an action packed far-fetched lead character who tackles crime both singlehandedly and rather ambiguously. Harry is a rash and cocky protagonist and his careless attitude does not equate with his status as a Detective Inspector in the police force. His arrogance made him a character who I could not warm to. Virdee hails from an orthodox Sikh family and wife, Saima, from a strict Muslim household and aside from the continuous mentions of both Harry and Saimi being cast out by their families and what this will mean for their forthcoming child, none of the cast are explored in any real depth and I felt no closer to what had driven much of their behaviour. I presume the religious divide between Harry and Saima is supposed to be viewed against the wider skin colour tensions, reflecting that differences of opinions are not restricted to skin tone alone. For a reader who is unenlightened on many of the aspects of differing faiths in the Asian culture I was grateful that Dhand spelled these differences out, but the necessity to do so can at times feel like an information overload as it holds the plot development back, specifically with regard to traditions and rituals surroundings specific cultural aspects and activities.

Sadly, the nearer to the finale this book ventured it became clear that this was really a matter of gangland violence and a power struggle to control the criminal network of Bradford. The violence is gratuitous and much of this was far too "Boy's Own" with thuggery attempting to pass itself off as warranted. Streets of Darkness used the ploy of blaming the political bigwigs and BNP in order to escalate a violent street warfare and as A.A. Dhand opted for fisticuffs and wide boys playing hard nut gangsters. Readers who prefer some substance and depth in their crime fiction plots will probably be disappointed. I most certainly was and with a mindless violence overload and a straightforward motive for framing Lucas Dwight clearly evident from the early pages, I will not be reading anymore of the egotistical Harry Virdee. The interesting and unexpected conclusion leaves Harry's fate irrevocably linked to his family, and in a final showdown he sits on the horns of a dilemma which seems set to once again collide directly with his wider family.
Profile Image for Ingrid.
1,208 reviews50 followers
February 18, 2020
Very well thought out but with a little too much violence for my liking, although I can see how it belongs to the story.
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,604 reviews168 followers
October 18, 2016
Having heard lots of great things about this book I had to get myself a copy and I’m very glad I did.

Harry is an extremely complex character. He is a good guy but then he will stop at nothing when it comes to those he loves. As much as I really liked his character, there was a certain darkness to him that made me slightly wary of him.

The fact that Harry is suspended from work doesn’t stop him from getting involved in a case that he really shouldn’t do. Harry seems to know a lot of what is going on in and around Bradford where he lives and works and has his ear very firmly to the ground.

The man that everyone seems to be after, Lucas Dwight, was someone that I really took to straight away from meeting him. Even though he is a criminal, he is a really likeable one. I think he even surprises Harry and Harry reluctantly starts to like the guy.

Another character who I really liked was Harry’s somewhat long suffering wife. I love the closeness between both characters and the love that they both feel for each other is quite a strong and intense one. Saima is such a wonderfully strong character and I think to a certain extent she is Harry’s saviour and keeps him on the straight and narrow.

The author brings to life the darkness that sadly surrounds most cities and the issues within them. He also shows the issues that can be caused when two people from different faiths and beliefs come together and how those people can be annihilated by the ones that are the closest to them.

Streets of Darkness is a brilliantly dark and gripping new crime novel. You can feel the tension as the pace picks up throughout the story. Very excited about Harry and what the future has in store for him. A stunning debut and can’t wait to read more by the author.
Profile Image for Christine.
831 reviews147 followers
May 20, 2017
As a Bradfordian who left a long time ago, I had very mixed feeling about reading Streets of Darkness. Bradford was my birthplace and where I spent my childhood. Streets of Darkness is a dark, gritty drama capturing some of the reasons why I find Bradford a tough place to be. This is Bradford crime noir!

Dhand cleverly shares the real Bradford with his readers. This is a Bradford that I am familiar with and also unfamilar with. I never lived in any of the areas of mentioned, but I was aware of them. I glimpsed its darker side, from the prostitution at Thornton Road and the infamous Lumb Lane to the no go areas. Bradford is incredibly segregated racially and religiously with areas totally Asian and areas totally White. To anyone living outside of Bradford, it may seem strange that there are areas you do not venture into. It has a rich cultural history of industrialisation with the mills. It was the hunting ground of the Yorkshire Ripper. Bradford has been in decline for as long as I can remember. In spite of some investment into the city, I see little evidence of real change since I left in the 1990s. As someone who grew up in Clayton (Bradford 14) and saw the potential of Bradford, it is rather sad. This all makes Bradford the ideal setting for a crime novel! A Gotham City, in need of a hero to fix it.

Into the rather bleak landscape of Bradford, we get to know Sikh DI Harry Virdee. Virdee is a law unto himself. He has found himself in trouble and in now suspended from the police. He breaks the rules. He has a temper. He is a real joy to get to know. He stands out married to a Muslim, the very pregnant Saima. That is unusual and very frowned upon. It has separated him from his family and his community. We see Virdee on the tail of a man blamed for the death of a Muslim MP from Bradford West. The MP has been found at Bradford Grammar School with a Swastica on his body. It seems that racial tensions in the city are rising again, with the real threat of violence and riots. Virdee is asked by his boss to find the suspect in the killing of the Bradford MP quickly. As he is suspended, this means he can operate outside the law. This suspect is Lucas Dwight, released from prison a few days ago with far right extremist BNP views.

Dhand does an excellent job establishing Harry Virdee, as a kind of lone ranger copper. He sets the scene beautifully, giving readers a chance to get to know the tough, dirty and complex city, with its drugs, cultural conflicts, manipulative individuals behind the scenes and politics. Nothing is what it seems.

Streets of Darkness is highly recommended and totally and utterly original. More please, Mr. Dhand. You will all want to discover Virdee for yourself!

Profile Image for Richard.
1,769 reviews149 followers
July 21, 2016
I read this novel over the past two consecutive days. It is quite remarkable and centres on just one day in the life of suspended police officer DI Harry Virdee. Fast paced, action driven it shows Harry desperate to control his rage, support his pregnant wife and get his job back.
Secrets and Lies, Revenge and Redemption and even Crime and Passion. This book has it all and is an incredible debut novel from an author writing about what they know while demonstrating a skill to explore the darker side between the police and the criminal gangs, racial tension and political unrest.
Bradford is the undoubted star of this book; fallen upon hard times but with a proud history. The city is seen as a a recovering success until a recent by-election result changes the power basis and in the fallout political and criminal factions will not stop at any action to overcome their rivals and enemies.
I loved the sense of isolation Harry feels both from his family and his work colleagues due to his marriage across cultural and religious divides and his latest outburst that leaves him suspended and his career irreparably damaged even if he avoids being sacked.
Strong plot full of interesting and diverse characters. Nothing is as it seems and the thought that Bradford is in need of a comic book hero, seemingly more like Gotham City runs as a theme in the book. That isn't Virdee, he is a flawed human being and apart from his job dedication and love for his wife has little going for him.
Full of twists and turns the narrative will run through the wringer and leave you what is right and what is wrong; are they two sides of the same coin? You spin it and take your chances.
There are shinning examples of loyalty, faith and innocence sadly it doesn't always save them from falling foul of the consequences of crime or the riots waiting to happen on the streets of the city.
A book that raises more questions than it answers in back story and outcomes and sets up the series if the author has the energy to continue in this frenetic way. Storytelling at its very best.
Profile Image for Nigel.
815 reviews92 followers
September 10, 2018
What a good read! Many thanks to my Goodreads friends for introducing me to this author.
I picked up this one in a charity shop as a paperback to see whether it worked for me - it did!
I really liked Harry as the lead character however all the other characters were worthwhile too. Bradford as a dark dysfunctional backdrop was well used and effective. The pace and tension was well crafted and could have easily made this unputdownable.
The use of ethnic and racial tensions impressed me - hard to do in anything like a balanced way.
All in all an excellent read and I will be reading the next one when I get the chance.
Profile Image for Andy Weston.
2,420 reviews147 followers
November 5, 2018
This is a well-written and completely plausible piece of Yorkshire noir that paints a bleak picture of Bradford as drug crime lords and the BNP battle on its streets bringing memories of the riots of 2001.
It’s no surprise that the TV rights sold even before the book was published in 2016.
Though it has as hero DI Hardeep Virdee (or Harry) divisions of right and wrong are not as clear cut as in a typical crime thrillers. With its graphic images of violence this is an unsettling end at times, and doesn’t flinch away from the gritty reality of a working class community that has been affected by the savagery it has suffered over many years.
Dhand’s mix of characters are the icing on the cake and make this a very different and compelling reading experience.
Profile Image for Sharon Bolton.
Author 42 books3,932 followers
September 16, 2016

This is a debut crime novel, set in Bradford. I’m from the north of England, not this part of Yorkshire, but not far away, so I know what its like to grow up and live in these grim northern towns, that always seem to be passed over by whatever economic boom is sweeping across the country.

In the town where I grew up, it was always a recession. I don’t think I knew anyone who was comfortably off until I went to university. And the Bradford of this book, frequently and amusing referred to as Gotham City, is like this. It’s also an uneasy mix of different ethnicities. AA Dhand’s Bradford presents the dark side of multi-cultural Britain, with all its prejudices and tensions, the side that isn’t really working. The police of the town still remember the race riots of 2001, and are conscious that with an unstable mix of cultures, the tinder-box could alight at any time.

When this story opens, this is exactly what is about to happen. A body has been found. Rather horribly killed. The dead man happens to be an important Bradford businessman, an Asian, rich and powerful, who was about to be elected as a local MP. The immediate worry of the police is that blame will fall on the local BNP, sparking another round of riots.

Our main character is DI Harry Virdee, a British Sikh, suspended from active service for getting involved in a fight. We hear that its not the first time, he has something of a volatile temper. Harry is married to Saima, another Asian, but a Muslim, and the two have been cast out by both their families. Now that Harry is suspended, there is a sense that these two are entirely alone, with only their love to sustain them, and it gets tested in this book.

A fast paced, original crime debut and one that I’m sure will do well.
Profile Image for Raven.
723 reviews205 followers
June 8, 2016
Streets of Darkness is to my knowledge the first crime book set in Bradford that I have encountered, and with only having visited the city a couple of times, my curiosity was instantly aroused with the mouthwatering prospect of unexplored crime territory. Unlike other British police procedural writers, Dhand paints an entirely bleak and unflinching portrait of this city, without the little moments of affection that normally punctuate other writers’ portrayals of their home towns. The image that Dhand portrays of his city is unrelentingly grim and depressing, and there is a downtrodden air amongst its inhabitants that hammers home the true picture of inner city deprivation and neglect that this city has suffered. Even allowing for the rare moments of happiness that Virdee experiences on the cusp of the birth of his first child, his character, with all his personal torments and professional frustrations, is a perfect mirror of Bradford itself. Dhand also highlights the long standing religious intolerance experienced by those marrying outside of their religion- Virdee is a Sikh, but is married to Saima, a Muslim- and I very much enjoyed Dhand’s exploration of the role of religion in their marriage and personal beliefs. Indeed, the attendant problems of faith loom large for Virdee throughout, both personally and professionally, as he becomes embroiled in a violent and dangerous investigation, that soon threatens all he holds dear, against a backdrop of a city thrown into a state of social unrest. Virdee is a traditional maverick, and goes out on a limb in the course of the book, despite operating whilst suspended as a police officer. Despite his downtrodden and naturally pessimistic air I did quite take to him as a character, but was a little unconvinced by the slightly schmaltzy feel when Dhand turned his attentions to Virdee’s home life. There was also an annoyingly predictable plot device linked to this that did make me punch the air in frustration as it wasn’t needed, and rather undid the fact that this was a very well-plotted and compelling depiction of inner city strife and burgeoning violence up to that point. However, that niggle aside I would still strongly recommend this debut. Grim, violent and a welcome addition to the British crime writing scene.
Profile Image for Waqar Arif.
18 reviews23 followers
May 17, 2019
Is this real? Has the book really ended after experiencing fear, anger, joy & every other emotion in the book? *Gasps* My receptors are craving for more adrenaline!
That was the last thought before turning the final page of this book. No. Seriously why the hell, this book hasn't got more attention in book readers community, which it deserved?
This story was about D.I Harry Virdee who was a real bad ass cop. Struggling to handle a city (Bradford or in another words Gotham!) which was under siege by asian gangsters, a murder of a prominent leader lead to mayhem. Desperately trying to take over the situation & keeping the riots under control, Harry & his boss Simpson, had no choice but to take aggressive & lightening fast measures.
I felt that I myself was spectating the dark alleys of city. I writhed. I cringed.
Shit went real when families came into play. Stakes were skyrocketed & no one was going down without putting up a damn show. Amongst all the chaos, Lucas Dwight, the prime suspect was present. Why everyone was getting paranoid to lay hands upon him? Was he really the murderer, a scapegoat or just a con artist?
Revealing the darkest and dirtiest secrets of a society, A.A Dhand has done a marvellous job and penned down a brilliant debut story. The headbutt start, character development, inter-religious caveats, world building and the nerve wrecking twists.. Everything was too good! Though there was some use of strong language. Looking forward to continue the series! At the moment I'm emotionally burnt out 😌
Profile Image for Tattooed_mummy.
123 reviews27 followers
May 27, 2016
Wowser. This is not the sort of book I would usually choose to read but I was sent a proof copy in exchange for a review.

I was surprised to find myself gripped by the story! I loved the fact that the policeman in this tale is a Sikh, and that the various aspects of religion and race are dealt with throughout the story in both interesting and matter of fact ways. The story is British but just like Britain there are many multicultural issues too.

The characters are never monochrome but deeply shaded and nuanced. While like many police dramas the main character is that detective trope, the 'maverick with a dark secret', it is believable, after all, who wants a story of a 9-5 policeman with no surprises!

There is a great deal of blood. There are very gory scenes that could upset gentler readers (not me of course I'm made of sterner stuff). The story covers issues such as racism, loyalty, religion, friendship, family, sacrifice and how the dark past can affect one's future. An excellent read. Brilliantly written. Lot's of surprises and the plot often didn't go where I thought it would! So don't get all comfortable with who you assume will live or die - this is a messy story - much like life.

Grab a copy. You won't regret it.
Profile Image for William.
675 reviews325 followers
February 19, 2020
Uh oh.

Cardinal rule broken.

Book rejected at 61%

Too bad. The prose is okay, uneven pacing, somewhat clichéd characters. 3 stars.

Profile Image for Ceecee.
1,968 reviews1,502 followers
March 31, 2018
This is an interesting new author to me and I liked the fact that the main character is Sikh although rejected by his family as he married a Muslim - Saima. I also liked that the book is set in Bradford as I live in Yorkshire and I’ve visited the city a few times. It has to be said that Bradford doesn’t exactly emerge as a city of dreams being likened at times to Gotham City. Like many other places it has an overwhelming drugs problem and there is mistrust between the different communities. I liked the Asian perspective and I thought it was refreshing to have the main character from the Sikh community. Harry (Hardeep) Virdee is really interesting as he is flawed by events in his life and he believes that ‘Rules and regulations were the death of progress’. It is a dark story as Bradford ends up in flames following a sequence of events that led to a new drug lord controlling the city. It’s a quick read but very enjoyable.
Profile Image for Bill.
908 reviews161 followers
June 9, 2019
A detective, suspended from work, discovers a leading politician brutally murdered in a city on the brink of a violent uprising. Welcome to the world of Detective Harry Virdee.
A A Dhand's debut novel tears along at breakneck speed, but still manages to pause & give us some great characters. I found the Sikh & Muslim background to the characters fascinating, having very little knowledge of either, & Dhand brings the city of Bradford brilliantly to life.
The second half of the novel has so much tension & so many plot twists it's almost exhausting to read. I will definitely be reading A A Dhand's next book in the series, but after reading this one I am left with one question. Where the hell can he go from here ?!
16 reviews1 follower
October 27, 2016
Pretty terrible paint by numbers police based thriller! Described as Luther meets the wire is probably the most inaccurate comparison ever made! If you like Luther (great detective show) and the wire (the seminal tv show of a generation and also the definitive cop show) then this book isn't for you... because you clearly have taste.

The book is bland, the author never really explores the characters with any real depth and just expects the reader to take it at face value that they have had a hard life. There is no detective work of any merit and if you have any interest in drug related stories there's not really any of that either.
Profile Image for Winter Sophia Rose.
2,208 reviews10 followers
July 10, 2016
Action Packed, Compelling, Shocking, Gritty, Intense & Breathtaking! An Excellent Read! I Loved It!
Profile Image for Noelle.
Author 6 books262 followers
June 4, 2016
I was given a proof copy of this book from Ben Willis of Transworld Books/ Penguin Random House. Huge, huge thanks for that Ben as this has got to be my favourite debut novels of 2016!!

I am not sure that any amount of “EEEEEKs” or “Oh My Friggin’ Gods” will get across the sheer excitement I felt when I finished reading this book. I only hope I can do it justice by my review, as #bookjunkies….this book is pure genius!

The story is set in Bradford and there were a lot of comparisons to Gotham (Batman) which I absolutely adored and set the mood in such a way that as a reader….well I was just entranced. It was eery, dark and very gritty and the comparison made you feel every bit a part of this morbid atmosphere as the story unfolded.

And WHAT A STORY it was! The opening pages had that #KillerHook which immediately draws the reader in and for me, is a MUST if I am going to keep reading a book. The actions of the story-line were delivered masterfully with a perfect pace and build up to the twists that will leave the reader breathless from excitement!

There are various themes riddled throughout the pages — some controversial, some expected — but all very much integral to the story. Racism, retribution, a haunting past or two, drugs, justice, fear, chaos and just what lengths will a person go to in order to save someone they love — oh my giddy aunt peeps– I could go on! Each of these strengthened the story and delivered that gut-wrenching blow that distinguishes greatness from mediocrity in a crime fiction novel.

If you have ever read any of my reviews, you will know that if a book does not have characters with substance and depth – I usually struggle to maintain an interest in the story. There was absolutely no fear of that with Streets of Darkness as the main character, DI Harry Virdee, was exceptional! A rogue of sorts, haunted by his past, the #Blood, a seeker of truth and justice whilst being dedicated to his wife/unborn child and his job…. yes! Yes! YES! — all the boxes were ticked!

I also adored his wife, Saima and the courage, determination and strength she showed when she needed to. Various characters –even the baddies — were so well written, that as a reader, they become a part of you and added a balance to the story. Another of my faves was Lucas Dwight, a recently released Neo-Nazi who will absolutely enthral and surprise you — I dare you not to LOVE this guy! Dare you!!

Would I recommend any lovers of gritty, intense, crime thrillers who need “OMG” moments that will blow you away to read this book? Hell-Bloody-Yeah I would!! The book will be published on June 17th, but don’t worry #bookjunkies — if you are in need of a fix, just pre-order!
Profile Image for Gisela Hafezparast.
597 reviews45 followers
August 5, 2018
Probably more a 3.5 because I don't quite believe the ending is plausible.

At the beginning this promises to be one of these bad boy copy detective series, who fights the criminal world not quite according to the law. The twist is that it plays in Bradford, which adds frisson because of its cultural heritage and it's multi-ethnicity without being cosmopolitan. There is also a very interesting twist because it picks up on problems not only between "white" Bradfordians and its Asian population, but between its Asian Muslim and Sikh population. Throw in the BNP and the story more or less must have written itself, it is wasn't for the ending.

However, great well written story and I have already ordered the second book in the series. We'll see how it develops.
Profile Image for Kath.
2,415 reviews
June 10, 2016
Police Procedurals are my bread and butter genre but they do get a bit samey so I am always looking out for something a little extra and I do believe that I have found it with this brilliant series opener.
Not only do we have a Sikh cop, he has a Muslim wife and has been ex-communicated from his family. He is also currently suspended from the force for being a little "heavy handed" oh, and add to the mix a dark secret from his past and we have a great main character in Harry Virdee. Oh and did I forget to mention that he is about to become a father.
He lives in Bradford where racial tensions are on a high, drugs and gangs rule and the BNP are making a bid for power. In fact, with all the history and information in the book about the city, I would go as far as to say that Bradford almost appears as a character in its own right.
So, Harry is suspended but he is drawn into the investigation of the death of a newly elected Asian MP. A body he himself had discovered whilst out running. Looking at the corpse, it is obvious that the crime is very much racially motivated and his Superintendent requests that Harry work the case "off the books" whilst on suspension. A simple task on paper being as the suspect left DNA but as the story unfolds, we realise that things are not always what they seem. Can Harry unravel the secrets and lies and cut through the duplicity in time to sort it all out before Bradford degenerates into a war zone and, if so, at what personal cost.
Wow! What a debut. I read start to finish in only a couple of sittings and was very grumpy every time I had to put it down. I got swept up in the action, embroiled in the corruption and totally immersed in the wonderful, tight plotline. At the end I felt like I'd run a marathon!
The characters are brilliant. I always say that I need to be able to emote with / relate to the characters in a book to give me a great read and I did this right from the off with Harry and his wife Saima. Although this book does have a big Asian leaning, I never found that suffocating. Actually, I learned quite a lot about the culture whilst reading, most of which I found fascinating and not intrusive at all. Usually I shy away from books where this sort of thing happens as I find it very distracting but, in this case it was very balanced along with the storyline and I feel that the religious elements complemented the story very well.
The crimes are a bit on the violent side and graphic, at times very gruesome. But all in context and never done for sensation sake. I read an awful lot of crime fiction and some of the torture elements were new ones on me!

So, all in all, a brilliant debut from a new author that I have stuck firmly on my watch list. Hopefully the follow up is not too far away.

I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Vicki - I Love Reading.
828 reviews52 followers
July 31, 2017

I somehow stumbled across an older review for this book by the fantabulous #CrimebookJunkie. I knew then I needed to read this book, and I decided it was time I treated myself to the paperback, because come on, a girl can never have enough books.
​I'm so glad I got this, what a superb read it was. I enjoyed every single page of this book. It's easy one of those reads that leads to just one more chapter, then each chapter leaves you wanting one more. 
​This is easy one of my best reads of 2017. Even better as I finished this one, I was approved for book 2 via Netgalley. So guess what my next read is.

Drugs, violence, racism, Corruption my goodness this book has it all. 
Set in Bradford we are introduced to Harry Virdee.  Harry is a police officer who has been suspended, Detective Hardeep "Harry" Virdee.
Disowned by his family,​ kicked off the job. Married with a child on the way, trying to redeem himself and save his career turns into so much more through this book. 
When Shakeel Ahmed is murdered, the police have a suspect in mind, Harry is asked 'off the record' to find him. He is to work the case, strictly off the books. 
​Harry knows the streets of Bradford better than anyone, and is set off on his crusade to find Lucas Dwight. Dwight a crazy fascist who when imprisoned was as deadly with his mind as with his fists. 
​Harry has his work cut out for him. Learning who can and can't be trusted is going to be difficult, and the more he figures out, the more things escalate. Can Harry get the baddy and save the city. 
​Fast paced, this book kept me hooked the whole way through.
​I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Harry. 
544 reviews12 followers
March 17, 2016
The blurb on this book compares it to The Wire, and I wouldn't go that far as The Wire is one of my favourite TV programmes of all time. It's not really like The Wire at all, but it's still pretty good. There's a lot of action, as Harry Virdee, freshly suspended from duty, is tasked with bringing in ex-BNP leader Lucas Dwight, newly released from prison and under suspicion of murdering a newly elected Muslim MP. Harry has a lot on his plate - his wife Saima is about to give birth. Both their families have cut them off, as Harry is a Sikh and Saima a Muslim, so they only have each other to rely on. I liked Harry and Saima, and I enjoyed the storyline, which give plenty of unexpected twists and turns. The setting of Bradford is really well described, and atmospheric. I look forward to meeting Harry again on a future outing.
Profile Image for Annette.
895 reviews1 follower
June 17, 2016
I loved this crime thriller which is set in Bradford, the main character is Harry who has just been suspended from the the police force for what he thought was a justified vicious attack on a member of the public. He is married to Saima who he met on one of his many visits to the A&E department of the local hospital. Both their families have turned their backs on them as they think that they have committed the ultimate sin in marrying out of their religion, Harry is Sikh and Saima is Muslim. It is a very descriptive and gritty novel pulling no punches. Thank you for the ARC, I look forward to reading more from this author. .
Profile Image for Trudy.
91 reviews10 followers
July 7, 2020
I really enjoyed this book, which focused on Bradford, poverty, drugs, racism.
The key character, Harry, is a Sikh but was cast out by his family for marrying a Muslim. His wife is heavily pregnant and is trying to keep some elements of both religions going. Harry is a suspended detective and an engaging character. In order to keep his job he sets out to find a far right extremist who is suspected of murder. The second half of the book is a fast paced thriller with lots of twists, highly recommended.
19 reviews
July 7, 2017
A dystopic view of Bradford and its inhabitants.

As a detective novel the plot is well crafted. However, the author gives a very jaundiced view of Bradford's diverse inhabitants. I will be interested to know if other Bradford-born readers will have the same feeling of anger as I had by the time I finished reading this book.
Profile Image for Claude.
443 reviews8 followers
June 16, 2021
I have tried the audiobook but I am finding it very hard to focus, given the difficulty of understanding the reader’s pronunciation, as I am not a native speaker. It would probably be easier for me to try the ebook.
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