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. Though he likes to imagine that she will come back, he is also mulling over whether to sell the apartment they shared.
Problem: it’s 2010. The crash and financial crisis are hitting house prices. Tommy might move back in with his Ma. It might be comical, he thinks, if it weren’t his actual life.
Other problems have piled up on him too. It’s bad enough that he frightened away his fiancée with his nightmares. The episode that gave rise to those nightmares, the murder of a Guard who was mistaken for Tommy, has also caused his colleagues to give him a wide berth. That, after the death of a suspect Tommy was chasing across rooftop, have brought suspicion on him. Are these incidents related? Is Tommy a bent cop?
Yes, Tommy was born and bred in working-class Crumlin and yes, many of his cohorts went on to be criminals. Yes again, he was raised by a single mother, and his brother died of drug overdose. For coppers, trust is everything. More and more, Tommy’s thinking that he will never earn their trust. He’s almost ready to think the unthinkable - heading to the airport along with everyone else.
Tommy knew he needed help to manage his issues, but now he feels addled by the pills that his shrink prescribed him. He can’t shake the feeling that he may be missing things, or misreading things.
Garda staffing is in crisis. Tommy 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.