The Man on the Street by Trevor Wood

The Man on the Street is the first book in the trilogy featuring homeless veteran Jimmy Mullen. In Newcastle, Jimmy is sleeping rough on the quayside, with just his dog for company, when he wakes and thinks he sees a murder. He still suffers from hallucinations, flashbacks and nightmares due to his untreated PTSD, and has a difficult relationship with the police, and doubts they would believe him anyway, so he does not report it, but it preys on his mind. It is only when he sees the missing person poster several weeks later that he feels compelled to come forward and help Carrie find out what happened to her dad.

Jimmy is an unusual protagonist in a crime novel, although during his service in the Falklands he was a navy regulator (military police) so has some relevant skills. Needless to say, the police don’t take him seriously so he agrees to continue assisting Carrie in her search for the truth. He has a strong moral compass and, despite having lost everything that mattered to him since leaving the armed forces, he wants to see justice done no matter the cost to his own safety.

The interactions between Jimmy and his two mates, Gadge and Deano, provide a bit of light relief amid the darkness. This sympathetic portrait of a damaged veteran is both uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time, and shows us beyond the stereotype to the real person underneath. The plot moves along at a fair pace, the characters are well drawn and believable, and the ending paves the way for the next book, One Way Street, which is already lined up on my kindle. I would not be surprised if this was made into a TV series.