Tommy Malone is a newly promoted Detective Garda Sergeant. He works in the Drug Squad, in Dublin.
He worked the Murder Squad for Matt Minogue and Jim ‘Killer’ Kilmartin, and featured in the Minogue series.
Tommy is going through a rough patch. His girlfriend / fiancée has just done a bunk on him. He tries to believe that she’ll come back, but he’s not a complete iijit - he’s also mulling over whether to sell the apartment they shared.
Problem: it’s 2010. The crash is hitting house prices. Tommy might move back in with his Ma. It might be comical if it weren’t his actual life.
Other problems have piled up too. It’s bad enough that his nightmares have put the fear of God into his fiancée. The incident that gave rise to those nightmares, the murder of a Guard who was mistaken for Tommy, has made him something of an outcast.
This is on top of an investigation into the death of a suspect Tommy was chasing across rooftop. Two coincidences?
And then there’s his background. Born and bred in working-class Crumlin, a fair few of Malone’s butties have gone on to be criminals. His brother died of drug overdose.
For coppers, trust is everything. More and more, Tommy’s thinking that he will never earn back their trust. He’s beginning to think the unthinkable - heading to the airport along with everyone else.
he is not the only Guard mulling over his future these days. Garda staffing is in crisis. Meanwhile Tommy tries to lie low. He takes advantage of shortages to do watch shifts outside a Dublin hotel that has become a clearing house for drugs. His unit is weeks away from a huge international bust. He’ll soldier on, do the best he can, and try to get his life back on track.
At least he still has his pals, fellas he grew up with in Crumlin. It is to ’Spots’ Feeney he usually turns. Spots, a former drug addict, was best friend to Tommy’s twin brother Terry now dead seven years ago.
Tommy knows enough not to inquire too closely about how Spots makes his living. Spots has his own notions of loyalty and friendship, however. Tommy is about to find that out.
Ireland may be reeling from the shocks of the crash, but Dublin’s still a small place. Bernadette Cummins has her own worries, though - her only surviving son Gary is missing. She can’t trust the Guards to search properly for him. It’s not just because staffing is at crisis levels: her husband Tony is a criminal godfather, now serving a lengthy sentence.
Frantic, she turns to her childhood friend for help - Sheila Malone, Sergeant Tommy Malone’s Ma. The women’s loyalties run deep and wide and long. With Bernie facing cancer, Sheila won’t let her down. Fiercely loyal to his Ma, Tommy Malone cannot help but become entangled. In a meet with Bernie’s infamous husband, he gets a coded signal that a deal can be done: information exchanged for finding the Cummins’ son alive. A huge coup for the Guards? Maybe. But as the saying goes, the past can be unpredictable. With all the old standbys crumbling around them, people are turning against one another. Neither Tommy nor those around him foresee what this collision of crime and loyalty will bring.