Sirens is the brooding and assured debut from Joseph Knox, the next big name in crime fiction.

Set in a sprawling, twilight northern city, Sirens introduces Aidan Waits, a disgraced young detective caught stealing drugs from evidence and subsequently blackmailed into going undercover. When an MP’s daughter runs away from home, Waits is sent to track her down and finds himself at the centre of a maelstrom of drugs, blackmail and deception.

Uncovering the motives of those involved, he’s thrown forwards through politicians, police and drug lords – towards a conclusion and a truth he really doesn’t want to know. 


Like the cover, the story within the pages of Sirens is edgy, realistic and full of dark, descending clouds of corruption, murder, and lies. This is a truly commanding and dynamic work of crime fiction like nothing I’ve read in a very, very long time. The story is told from the perspective of Aidan Waits, a down and out detective who’s managed to get himself into some serious hot water after he’s caught stealing drugs from the evidence locker. To say he’s flawed doesn’t really do him justice because he’s quite aware of the demons that follow him and more often than not he seems to encourage them. I absolutely love the first few sentences of the book which immediately set the tone and show us just a sliver of Aidan’s psyche….

       Afterwards I went back on to the night shift. They’d never trust me in the daylight again. I spent my time responding to 4 a.m. emergency calls, walking up and down dead escalators and trying not to think. I’d been good at that once…

Doesn’t that leave you wondering what happened that he’s back on shift night? Why will they never trust him again? Of course, those questions are just a tiny thread of the larger criminal web that Aidan finds himself entangled in. From dirty politicians to corrupt police to warring drug lords, the webs that were spun in this book left me feeling tense and off balance much of the time. I found myself wondering so often who was telling the truth, who could be trusted, was Aidan truly undercover or had the boundaries between his undercover life converged with his real one to become the same? With his continued drug and alcohol use, it was easy to see how Aidan could have crossed the undercover line to the criminal one with no chance of return.

The author does a brilliant job of creating a connection between the reader and Aidan by using flashbacks of Aidan’s childhood…where and how he grew up and what his heart is missing as a result. The social worker in me understood how his childhood had led him to his current dark place in life…the drugs, the alcohol, the dangerous situations that led to violence…but I also wondered if there could be redemption for Aidan in the end.

I’ve digressed a little in this review with my discussion of Aidan because he was one of the strongest protagonists I’ve rooted for in such a long time! I do, however, really want make sure I discuss some of the other amazing parts of this book. The setting of Manchester in the winter and the taut, detailed descriptions of everything from the weather to the club scenes to deserted buildings on the edge of town were written to perfection. I felt like I was there and it often made me feel very anxious and on edge.  What’s also at the core of this story is a couple extremely well plotted mysteries that had my head spinning with possibilities. Let me tell you, I in no way had anything figured out and I’m completely happy with that. In the end,  I was just holding out hope that Aidan could/would be saved… from corrupt police, psychopathic drug dealers…but most of all from himself.

5/5 Stars 

*Many thanks to Amy at for sending me her copy of this gem. You’re the best Amy!!

You can purchase Sirens at Amazon and Book Depository

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37 thoughts on “REVIEW: SIRENS By Joseph Knox

    1. If you’re anything like me you’ll want to save him from himself! I’m hearing that this is the first in a series so now’s a good time to get acquainted with him. If you at all like dark crime fiction with hard to solve mysteries I think you’d like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Aidan ❤ I also loved him even though he wasn't perfect at all… I'm still thinking it'd be great if there was a movie!! Who would you want to play him???

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    1. Oooh, I love trying to cast books into movies! And yes I can totally see this getting made into one…it reminds me of a Dennis Lehane book as you said and his books translate so well into movies I can see this doing the same. Ok, I have 2 picks..I don’t know if we were told how old Aidan is but I really like the actor Alex Pettyfer for him! My second choice is Ian Somerhalder. What are your thoughts and who would you choose??


      1. Yes, definitely Lehane’s vibes! Those two are handsome but I think they’re too “clean cut” XD I don’t know how to explain. What about Boyd Hollbrook (from Narcos)?

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      2. Yes, he’s a possibility. I pictured Aidan on the handsome side, I think that Alex guy could be “dirtied” up a little haha😍I do need to watch Narcos, I’ve heard it’s good


      3. Maybe it’s because I like them more “dirtied up” as you say haha I love Narcos! Let’s keep our fingers crossed for a Sirens movie 😀

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  2. Great review, Renee, and I love how taken you are with Aidan! Having read the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read this or not, but I’ve now added it to my wish list 🙂

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    1. Thank You Jo! I really did connect with Aidan’s character, mainly because I’d like to see him redeemed and with a happy ending somewhere down the road:) If you do read it, I hope you like it, the writing is excellent:)

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  3. This sounds fantastic! And I agree, Ammy is wonderful ❤ I really enjoyed this review. I am always drawn to titles with a darker side. And when you can connect fully with the protagonist, it is a reader's dream come true. Well, at least for me. Stellar review Renee!

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    1. Thanks so much Danielle! This is definitely on the dark side with a lot of the content but Aidan was a character I really connected with, I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for him in the future:) I really appreciate you stopping by!

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  4. Great review… again! I’m going to have to start locking up my wishlist before I visit your blog! I’m not usually one for this kind of novel, but you’ve intrigued me about Aidan’s character…

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    1. I feel the same about you blog:) I’ve added so many books you’ve reviewed or highlighted I wouldn’t have come across otherwise. If I can talk you into one book I’d pick this one. Aidan is so very flawed that you want to kick him, but there’s some pieces to him and his past I didn’t discuss in my review that I’ll be dying to find out where the author goes with them…this is the start of a series😍

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  5. I’m intrigued about this book. First, it sounds so dark and engrossing, like something you can’t get out of. Then, the undercover idea is a great one, I love seeing it used because the line between the cover and the real self sometimes blurs and the situations force the characters to take actions and you’re left wondering just how much of that person inside has made the choice. Awesome review, I think I need this book!!

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  6. […] Sirens is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in years! Actually, it has 2 mysteries which was double the fun as I couldn’t figure out either. The main character, Aidan, was one of the most well developed, flawed characters I’ve read in a long time. I read this last Jan and I still think about it…and impatiently wait for the sequel!! […]

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