Joseph Knox

The Smiling Man

""Knox is a writer to keep your eye on." "


Disconnected from his history and careless of his future, Detective Constable Aidan Waits has resigned himself to the night shift - an endless cycle of meaningless emergency calls and lonely dead ends. Until he and his partner, Detective Inspector Peter 'Sutty' Sutcliffe, are summoned to the Palace, a vast disused hotel in the centre of a restless, simmering city. There they find the body of a man. He is dead. And he is smiling.

The tags have been removed from the man's clothes. His teeth have been filed down and replaced. Even his fingertips are not his own. Only a patch sewed into the inside of his trousers gives any indication as to who he was, and to the desperate last act of his life...

But even as Waits pieces together this stranger's identity, someone is sifting through the shards of his own.

When mysterious fires, anonymous phone calls and outright threats start to escalate, he realises that a ghost from his own past haunts his every move - and to discover the smiling man's identity, he must finally confront his own.

Purchase the book from Amazon.


Joseph Knox hit the ground running with his debut novel, 'Sirens', last year. It took the crime fiction community by storm and launched Knox into the upper echelons of Northern Noir. His unique style of writing has echoes of some of the greats of the genre including Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. The problem with having such a hit debut is can the author deliver for his second book. In Knox's case, that's not a problem. 'The Smiling Man' is a powerful, character-driven novel with an electrifying pace. DC Aidan Waits is a phenomenal creation. I'm not embarrassed to say that I have a massive man-crush on him. He's at the bottom of the food chain - no friends, no family, no life, everyone at work hates him and wants him to quit and there's a price on his head. However, he is so bloody cool about it all. You can picture him walking along the corridors in the police station with his head held high secretly giving life the middle finger. What I love about Knox's writing is the attention to detail and the fluidity of his prose. Waits' partner in crime is the unfortunately named Peter Sutcliffe - a dinosaur in the police service, but his nuances, his rhetoric, make him the man you love to hate. Knox is a writer to keep your eye on. 'Sirens' was no bluff. This man can write and he's going to be a powerful name in British crime fiction. Mr Knox, I bow to you.

Reviewed By: