Brian McGilloway’s Lucy Black series, set in Northern Ireland, returns with the compelling Bad Blood.

Not one to shy from controversial topics, McGilloway tackles Lucy’s latest case head on, when a community becomes overwhelmed with tragedy.

A young man is found in a park, dead from head wounds, and with a stamp from a gay club on his hand. Concurrently, a hate-speech pastor was heard spouting the advocacy of stoning gay people. Could the death be connected to his talks?

At the same time as Lucy and her boss, DI Tom Fleming, try to cool things off, a Gay Rights group become involved, showing up and demonstrating at the pastor’s talks, while a far-right group target new immigrants who’ve moved into the area.

There will be vandalism that escalates to assault, arson, and more deaths before Lucy and her team, who are undergoing their own stresses, can figure out who is behind the various issues. There are turf wars within the community, and an escalating drug problem that adds to the tension.

Set against the days leading up to the Brexit vote, this highly current and compelling thriller will have readers flipping pages as Lucy and her team try to figure out who is responsible for what, when she finds herself on the receiving end of some of the ugliness.

The complex plot all makes sense in this end in this enjoyable read that will have readers searching for others in the Lucy Black series.