Sirens by Joseph Knox


Joseph Knox

Gritty, nail-bitingly tense, and addictively page-turning, Sirens is the most well-crafted crime thriller to come along in years. 

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A riveting thriller about a damaged undercover detective navigating a web of politicians, drug lords, missing persons, and his own flawed department, perfect for readers of Tana French, Don Winslow and Dennis Lehane. 
Infiltrating the inner circle of enigmatic criminal Zain Carver is dangerous enough. Pulling it off while also rescuing Isabelle Rossiter, a runaway politician’s daughter, from Zain’s influence? Impossible. That’s why Aidan Waits is the perfect man for the job. Disgraced, emotionally damaged, and despised by his superiors. In other words, completely expendable. 
But Aidan is a born survivor. And as he works his way deep into Zain’s shadowy world, he finds that nothing is as it seems. Zain is a mesmerizing, Gatsby-esque figure who lures young women into his orbit—women who have a bad habit of turning up dead. But is Zain really responsible? And will Isabelle be next?
Before long, Aidan finds himself in over his head, cut loose by his superiors, and dangerously attracted to the wrong woman. How can he save the girl if he can’t even save himself?

Advance Galley Reviews

I had difficulty getting immersed in the story - I think I was caught up in the language and word choice, which had stylistic elements I wasn't used to. I was hoping for an enthralling thriller, but unfortunately, this did not suffice.

This was a great book. Kept me reading and enjoying it. I will be watching for the next book in the series

I really liked this thriller. Very dark and gritty thriller that delves into the drug world as Aidan Waits seeks to rescue Isabelle. He delves into the criminal world of Zain Carver and the drug trade. The hero is tormented and disgraced, the anti-hero that seems to be the trend now. I thought the story was very well written, well paced. It is a very dark novel thought. I would recommend it. It looks like it will be a really interesting new series. I will definitely be following this character in the next book.

She's Lost Control indeed... Well this book floored me. An absolute Atrocity Exhibition. A tale full of Dead Souls, this is a dark, tough noir on the Interzone streets of Manchester. It almost has the vibe of that movie Brick but way more grim, and harder edged. If you like stories where New Dawn Fades and everything is Disorder and Shadowplay, where there are no happy endings, then this is the book for you. Now to impatiently wait for the new one to be published stateside. Side Note: The book is broken up by Joy Division album titles and I recommend listening to the said albums while reading. Or just put the song The Eternal on loop as it works perfectly with the vibe.

Great urban noir book that show the dark and grimy underbelly of Manchester. I can see that Joy Divisions “ Unknown Pleasures” must have been the album Joesph Knox’s was listening to when he wrote this. This book is like the world that album conjures upmfor me. A dark and brutal world that many would never see, one that’s right in front of us. I like the anti-hero Aiden Waits, reminds me of a mix of Reacher, Harry Hole, and Inspector Brant. Knoxs has some great word play. I look forward to his next novel

Nail bitting and addictive this book is not. I thought this book was boring, and uninteresting. I read approximately 150 books per year. I love mysteries and thrillers. I made it about 37% of the way thru this book before I gave up. The characters were barely developed. The story was the same practically every day. It was kinda like ground hog day. New day same story. Not much happening. Don’t waste your time. In addition to this, the adobe e-reader app that they suggest you use to read their books is the absolute worst e-reader I’ve ever used and I have probably tried them all. You have to enlarge each page to read the text, then you have to return the page to its original size just so you can turn the page. Doing this 367 times is enough to drive anyone to pull their hair out.

While the synopsis sounded interesting, I was not able to get into this book. For this reason, I did not finish the novel.

This book was everything it advertised to be. Aidan was an interesting main character to follow and even though it did not add anything new it was interesting to read and I enjoyed the characters.

I struggled with this book a bit. Knox weaves a very dark tale of the drug world. although I thought what I read was well written, I only got about half way through it. Sorry I can't provide a more detailed review, but if you enjoy a very dark plot, it may be perfect for some readers.

This story had an interesting topic but somehow I couldn't manage to get into it. I just couldn't finish it.

It is amazing to me when I consider what undercover agents will do to "save the day". Aidan Waits isn't the perfect detective -- which, honestly seems to fit in with all the popular detective narratives of today -- but readers still can't help but root for him, especially when given a glimpse into the beyond seedy underworld of Manchester that Knox transports reader to. Sometimes I forget how dark and evil the world can be and how innocent I really am, and Knox definitely opened my eyes. While this is a work of fiction, readers can't help but be drawn into this nefarious world knowing how plausible it all really is. Reading how deep Waits falls into his undercover mission just reaffirmed for me how fortunate we all are that there are brave men and women willing to risk everything, including their own sense of self, to help the common person even when we don't realize all that they are saving us from. Heroes aren't always knights in shining armor.

Sirens was an excellent first novel in this series. I’m eagerly awaiting book two. Knox weaves together an excellent mystery whodunnit leaving you on the edge of your seat until the last page.

Although Sirens is in my wheelhouse as a crime/mystery thriller, this book is not quite like anything I’ve read before. Between a focus on the drug trade and a gritty atmosphere placing it squarely in urban noir (two things I find I don’t read a lot of), this book was just outside my typical comfort zone. It’s a sign of truly great writing when an author can suck you in to a story despite it being outside your comfort zone, and that’s exactly what Knox did here. It took me a few chapters to find my footing, but once I did, I was swept up by this story. With complex characters who must face the consequences of their choices, taut pacing, and meticulous plotting, I was surprised to discover this is the author’s debut novel. In true fashion, I couldn’t help but compare this to a movie. The vibe of Sirens gave me a strong reminder of The Departed right off the bat, a feeling which only increased as the story progressed. If any of this sounds like it’s up your alley, I highly encourage you to check this out. I can’t wait to see what the author does next.

I had a hard time getting into this, and it expired before I could finish.

I was on the fence about this one. It kept my attention decent enough, but nothing about it wowed me. The writing was sparse and emotionally barren. I couldn't connect with Aidan and despite his actions that showed otherwise, I didn't really feel the connection he had with these women. I guess the problem is I didn't understand him at all. He felt flat, with no close companion to give a closer look. Despite him taking a beating I didn't feel like he was in any real danger. That being said, the last fourth of the book really kicked into gear. As the questions were answered and reveals were made, I finally felt some emotion toward what was going on. Aidan didn't pull punches when it came to confronting one of the bad guys, his sadness over a loss was more clearly expressed, and the explanation tied everything up. I wish the entire novel drew me in like this, so it ended on a good note. I received a review copy.

Sirens is a dark tale about drugs, murder, lies and deceit. A lot of this story centers around the drug world. This book is set in a shady underworld and in an environment that is very dark and dangerous, where anything can happen. The main character, Aidan Waits, a disgraced cop, lands himself an undercover assignment to infiltrate the inner circle of an enigmatic criminal and provide information about a runaway teenager who is a part of that Franchise. When this kid ends up dead, all hell breaks loose and no one is who they seem to be. The author does a good job of introducing character after character that are flawed, unstable and often, unlikable. Everyone is so messed up that I didn't feel I bonded strongly with any of the characters. The book had a slow start and I didn't feel totally engaged at first. I was reading a few pages and then losing interest. I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. It dragged in places but as the story progressed the plot got more interesting and that is the part of the book that I liked; the last 100 or so pages. The book was also a little long winded, with lots of characters coming and going, but the author did a good job of tying up all the loose ends. Overall it was okay. If you're a fan of dark and dirty crime thrillers, then this one will be for you.

Never finished the book. Didn’t like the characters or the storyline

The blurb says that Sirens is perfect for readers of Tana French, and since she is one of my favorite authors, I thought this book would be right up my alley. It ended up being just okay- my main issues being that the story dragged in spots, and the killer of the main murder sort of came out of left field. There were a few compelling characters and the author successfully created a gritty and vivid atmosphere, so I would consider checking out another one of his books in the future, despite the flaws I found here.

I just could not get into this book. I was bored and confused from the beginning and never really did figure out what was going on. I tried, but I ended up not finishing.

SIRENS is a tangled and complicated story, and there were a few times when I wasn't at all sure what was happening. That being said, it definitely held my interest, and I could hardly put it down. Well-written and gripping, it was a great read. This is the author's first novel, and I'll be interested to see what else comes from him. Many thanks to First To Read for the advance copy - I really enjoyed it.

For someone that doesn't typically gravitate towards thriller mysteries, I did find that this book left me wanting to know what happened. I couldn't relate or sympathize with any character -- especially the main character Aidan, which made the reading difficult at times. The motivations behind his actions were always surprising and outrageous. There were multiple times throughout the story where I thought I'd figured out what had happened, only to realize I was wrong, and for those reasons, I appreciated the author's storytelling. However, it felt like a lot of the story glorified extreme acts of violence and the underworld of drugs, which was often hard to stomach. All in all, the book was a quick read with interesting twist and turns, but it followed the same formula that most books within this genre do.

I actually read this twice as the first time I had a really hard time understanding what was going on. The second read did help but I still felt it was a very convoluted story. The main character, Aidan, was quite the addict but, while reading it, I also wondered if the author was too. Sorry, but I don't recommend this read.

It is hard to believe this is the author's debut novel - it is absolutely a stunning 5-star book! I was captivated by the writer's skill at drawing the reader into a world of revenge and betrayal. The title, Siren, refers to the girls who collect drug money from the bars. Aidan Waits is a detective with problems, a hard man with a genuine heart where nothing ever seems to go his way. You want him to succeed, but as the story unfolds you realize the are no winners in this story of violence. He is not likeable and not your typical main character in a crime thriller - perhaps that's why it felt so realistic. Waits has a weakness for drugs, alcohol and women and it often interferes with his mission - again the writer makes him human. The book explores the seedier side of Manchester (could be any major city) and one I don't know much about as Aidan travels as an undercover cop in the drug world. A must read for all readers that love crime thrillers!

This was a twisty turny story that kept me flipping the pages well past my bed time. No matter how hard I tried, I could never quite figure out how this was all going to work out and I was definitely not disappointed. Though this is not something I normally read, I was completely enthralled and I can't wait to read more.

This book had me interested from the beginning. It was a great thriller and I enjoyed reading it.

Reader beware, this book will keep you up way past your bedtime! A tale very dark and very grim, but honest and believable. I found it to be well written, with superb character development. I am a fan of dark crime novels, so this one was right in my wheelhouse. Sirens is a stunning debut and I highly recommend giving it a go. I'll certainly be on the watch for future offerings from Joseph Knox.

This book definitely kept me wanting to read more. I ended up finishing it in a day. Very well written plot turns and character development. This novel is very dark but is a page turner.

This is not the type of book that I usually read but it was so well written, so exciting that it got me totally immersed in the characters. So many fascinating and flawed characters that I cared about and wanted to find out what happens to them. I could not put this book down and read to the stunning, unexpected ending which I had not guessed. Totally engrossing book that I would recommend.

Cops get a bad wrap. Because just like in every other part of life, there are bad people. This book illustrates a police officer coming out with the guilty people caught. It was a good, fast moving book that I had trouble putting down. I would definitely recommend. Thanks First to Read for my advance copy!

Sirens by Joseph Knox is just the ticket if you were a fan of the TV show The Wire. It's rough, dirty & gritty and full of drugs, violence, gangs, corrupt politicians and cops, war for territory and all the horrific crimes that go with. The vast span of law and morality is at hand for viewing; the question of who is on the right side of the law the main question as you try to keep all the players straight. You are dropped right into the action and need to hit the ground running from page one. Aidan Waits is the main character and POV and to say he's unreliable? Well, you'll see. This story moves fast and just when you think 'ah ha!' you are taken down another alley. Not your usual police procedural- refreshing change of viewpoint than the standard lone detective we see so often. Great debut!

Set in modern day England, Aidan Waits plays an undercover policeman in which it is difficult to differentiate who's good versus bad in this gritty tale. At first it is unclear if all of the events of murder, crooked cops, drugs, and sex are related. Although I didn't find any of the characters likable, one was compelled to see things through to the finish. Thanks to First to Read- Penguin Books USA for the free copy of this book.

A real good, rather 'dark/seedy' police procedural/thriller? A flawed hero? But a good story for sure! Most of the action revolves around the dark, dirty streets...areas inhabited by inhabited by the drug world around/near London, & a lot happens in the dark night, of/in bars & parties. There are several twists involved, & I liked that I hadn't seen them coming! I just read that there is a 2nd book coming out in this vein, so maybe a series in the making? I'll definitely be looking for that 2nd book by J. Knox! The story has quite a few characters to keep track of, so you need to pay attention, but the book is put together in rather shorter, easier chapters to help with that. I thought it a real good read for a debut! I received this e-ARC from Peguin's First-To-Read Giveaway program, in exchange for my own fair & honest review. All opinions are my own.

This is a very dark crime novel. I can see it as a movie directed by Guy Ritchie or Danny Boyle. The book starts with Detective Constable Aidan Waits and his partner seeing a newspaper article about the death of a 23 year old woman. Waits had met her a year ago and most of the rest of the book is a flashback to what happened then and why Waits has been permanently relegated to the night shift. Waits has a drug problem and agrees to go undercover to avoid punishment by the police department. He is tasked with finding out who in the department is working with the Franchise, one of two local illegal drug operations. The Franchise is run by the charismatic Zain Carver who employs young women (Sirens) as his money collectors. His other task is given to him by a politician whose runaway 17 year old daughter has become involved with the Franchise. Waits is a complex character who never seems cut out for police work. There is no explanation of what drew him to this profession. Frankly, I could see him having Carver's job. He was very at home in the criminal world. This book has drug use, sadistic murders, rival drug dealers with double dealing associates, crooked cops, shady politicians, tainted drugs and beautiful women who exist in this book only to be victims (the author loses points with me for that particular trope). The writing was tight with dialogue reminiscent of film noir movies, loose ends were taken care of and the author didn't dish out any fake happy endings. I'd be willing to read more by him. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

This isn't the type of book that I typically enjoy, but this was twisty and gritty and really pulled me in. I couldn't NOT finish it, I had to know, had to figure it all out. I found it to be a book worthy of my time and enjoyed it.

Fir this being his first book it was great. I even got mad because my kindle ran out of battery and I had to wait to finish reading. The story is about Aidan who is a detective that goes deep undercover to find a killer and put drug dealers in jail. The bad thing is he gets into too deep and makes friends with a couple of them. Great first book can't wait for his next one.

This is a very deep and dark page turner, that I couldn’t put down. The characters were interesting, I loved their flaws, and I loved the way Aiden was written. The plot hinges on the corruption of the police as well as on the horrors of sexual abuse and contaminated narcotics. Set in urban England, I found descriptions of the locale intriguing. However, the story is fast moving, and certainly held my interest; for that reason I can say I liked it for Knox’s first book!

Having a love for noir and hard-boiled detective fiction, I didn't find anything particularly new or unexpected about this book. I didn't care what happened to anyone in the book and definitely won't be reading any future Aidan Waits books.

A compelling read. Interesting and intense in many ways. The main character, in many ways, isn't particularly likeable or relatable, but he has his redeeming qualities. Sometimes I felt there were a few too many red herrings thrown in, and there weren't enough clues to figure things out before the main character did, but all in all, I enjoyed.

Knox has written a dark and violent page-turner that looks at the darker side of its characters -and humanity in general- to deliver an almost physical gut punch of twists and turns. The plot is a maze and the narrator is unreliable, but it's a run-away train of revelations and hidden agendas. There was a point about a third in that I just had to finish it and find out what's what and who's who. I did not put it down until the last plot point was resolved, and boy were they resolved. It might just be that I don't read this genre that often, but I kept getting surprised with where Knox was taking me. That's what makes thrillers like this worth reading. I do have just one thing to carp about, and that's the ridiculously short paragraphs. Breaks that would have worked perfectly as just paragraph breaks or with an extra space differentiate were turned into chapters that were just 2 paragraphs long. It's a pet peeve of mine, but it takes me out of the moment to change chapters and I hate it when the next chapter is just a continuation of a previous scene. Even with it including one of my biggest pet peeves, this is definitely a thriller that I highly recommend.

The mission is suicide. The story is twisted. The main character Aiden is troubled yet he still has a moral compass. He may be an unreliable narrator due to the fact of his drug habit. I wanted him to save the day. The first chapter had me hooked because Waits had a foggy memory. From there I had to finish even though parts along the way broke my heart. Sirens is razor-sharp and special. I wished something worst would have happened to Zain. I would have liked to know more about his childhood. I will read the next book if there is another installment

I was fortunate to receive early access to an advanced copy of Sirens through the First to Read program, and it was a gritty, hard boiled ride. Aidan Waits is a disgraced cop who gets tangled up in a seedy murder mystery, filled with drug dealers and other degenerates. The investigation takes several twists and turns as readers are lead to the final conclusion. The story is definitely dark and seemingly captures the desperation of its characters.

I had a hard time with this book. I kept feeling as though I had walked into a movie and missed the first 20 minutes. I never could figure out whether the narrator was unreliable, undercover, on drugs or all of the afore mentioned. The same for many of the other key characters. With no one and nothing to believe, I couldn’t get my bearings and the story just didn’t hold my attention continuously.

I read this book obsessively and couldn't wait to see how it all ended. I'm amazed that this is Joseph Knox's first book, bc it's expertly plotted with a large cast of really interesting characters. Everyone is flawed with conflicting agendas, and the true bad actors can be hard to ferret out. This was the best noir thrilled that I've read in ages. Aiden Waits is a great character, a classic flawed antihero with a strong if tarnished moral compass. I hope that this will be the beginning of a series. I would definitely read about Aiden Waits' future adventures and misadventures. Thanks to Penguin and First to Read for a chance to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I devoured this work in one sitting! The mysteries within Knox’s pages unfold as clearly as scenes in a cinematic presentation. His attention to sensory details immerses the reader through every twist and turn. The audience is transported to the dark avenues of the underworld, corruption in law enforcement, and the conflicts transpiring in the protagonist’s, Aidan Waitts’, own psyche. What makes the criminal world so enticing to so many? Can people dabble in the illegal realms without becoming fully immersed? Knox offers an insider’s look into the darker regions including the rewards and consequences of not playing by the book.

Sirens was a fast-paced, exciting thriller with a hefty dose of crime thrown in. Knox gives Aidan an interesting and believable voice. The characters are interesting and three dimensional.


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