Competing in the Champions League should be one of the highlights of a manager’s career. Indeed for Scott Manson, manager of London City, the match against Olympiacos in Athens is one that he will never forget – unfortunately it will be for all the wrong reasons. He certainly hadn’t anticipated one of his star players collapsing and dying during the match and his whole team being told they can’t leave the country. When the body of a prostitute is found and linked to the deceased player, a murder investigation is soon underway. With much of Greece on strike, it is up to Manson, once again to uncover the truth.
Hand of God is the second in the Scott Manson series and is just as good as the first. Again, due to previous experiences, Scott’s mistrust of the police is a big theme – this time, though, it is heightened due to the setting of the crime. As well as Philip Kerr’s ability to weave real-life football stories into the text, his wry look at the troubles in Greece make this a fast-paced and, at times, humorous read. Like the previous book, I found myself comparing characters to actual people in the footballing world, wondering who the author had based them on!
As a football fan, the book grabbed me right away but I can see some readers being put off by the first quarter of the book before the crime aspect really kicked in. My advice would be not to give up – the rest of the story makes the build-up worthwhile. As this was published in 2015, prior to the triumphs of Leicester City Football Club, one quote from the book, with hindsight, made me laugh:
Full of misplaced optimism at being in the Premiership once again, Leicester’s supporters were noisy but hospitable…
If Mr Kerr would like to write a similar comment in his next Scott Manson book in relation to Everton, it would be much appreciated!