What if the pandemic we have all been experiencing in the past year had been written about fifteen years ago?  In 2005, Peter May could not find a publisher for his book “Lockdown;” it was just too unrealistic. Fast forward to 2020, and suddenly it mirrors the daily headlines and hourly newscasts.

Detective Jack MacNeil lives in London the midst of a epidemic lockdown. The world is under siege by an invisible enemy, a deadly virus of alleged Chinese origin. It starts like any other flu, with body aches, fever, sore throat, a cough, and then degenerates quickly into progressive and irreversible respiratory decline, killing quietly, and spreading swiftly while residents await an effective vaccine. The infection is easily spread, and certain areas are simply off-limits. It is an airborne virus so everyone wears masks, and no one shakes hands.

Against this background, May created a complicated and persuasive crime drama. The bones of a murdered child are uncovered on a building site where workmen are feverishly constructing an emergency hospital. Jack struggles; the virus strikes his own family, and he, along with forensics’ specialist Amy, work frantically to discover the identity of the child and to determine who viciously murdered her. However, tests on the girl’s bones uncover something that changes the entire direction of the search. There is someone will do anything necessary to stop this investigation, and even the “bad guy” is confidently hiding in plain sight, secure in the anonymity afforded him by the mask, goggles, and coveralls. (But he likes the cat.)

“Lockdown” touches on things the world has endured since March 2020 and combines it with a crime for a complex and compelling story. It is a fifteen year-old book with unnerving reality. What secrets does our current pandemic hide and what are the implications for the future? I guess I will have to read all of Peter May’s books more carefully in the future.

#Lockdown #PeterMay #pandemic