Lockdown by Peter May #Spoilers

Thank you to Quercus Books for the digital review copy of Lockdown back in April 2020. Apologies for the delay in reading and reviewing my first read of a Peter May book. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.


Written over fifteen years ago, this prescient, suspenseful thriller is set against a backdrop of a capital city in quarantine, and explores human experience in the grip of a killer virus.

‘They said that twenty-five percent of the population would catch the flu. Between seventy and eighty percent of them would die. He had been directly exposed to it, and the odds weren’t good.’ 


London, the epicenter of a global pandemic, is a city in lockdown. Violence and civil disorder simmer. Martial law has been imposed. No-one is safe from the deadly virus that has already claimed thousands of victims. Health and emergency services are overwhelmed. 


At a building site for a temporary hospital, construction workers find a bag containing the rendered bones of a murdered child. A remorseless killer has been unleashed on the city; his mission is to take all measures necessary to prevent the bones from being identified. 


D.I. Jack MacNeil, counting down the hours on his final day with the Met, is sent to investigate. His career is in ruins, his marriage over and his own family touched by the virus. Sinister forces are tracking his every move, prepared to kill again to conceal the truth. Which will stop him first – the virus or the killers?

My thoughts:

I finally started the book during week 11 of lockdown in the UK. It was fascinating to see how Peter May had imagined a pandemic would affect London – the army checkpoints, curfews, the mass cremations etc – a very sobering read.

However the majority of the book is actually a murder investigation by D.I. Jack MacNeil, a Scottish man living and working in London. This is his last day working for the police before leaving to spend time with his young son – a day (and night) spent investigating the death of a young girl.

Despite the gruesome subject matter of murder and pandemics I enjoyed the majority of the book and would have given it a 4.5 star rating. However, the last 10-15% of the story was so unbelievable (in terms of Pinkie) that my enjoyment of the book and subsequent rating was dramatically reduced.

I know other readers have enjoyed the book and that this is my personal opinion, but I would love to see the ending rewritten because the majority of the book was an excellent read.

I recommend the book to be read to see how close to the real events of 2020 Peter May had imagined in 2005, but not as realistic crime fiction novel.

View all my reviews

By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum of teenagers. Adopter of dogs.

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