Panic Button by Charlie Gallagher

Panic Button by Charlie Gallagher

5th January 2022.

In this second novel in the DS George Elms series, all hell breaks loose in Langthorne when a killer starts to murder police officers. He presses the emergency button on their radios so the police can hear the last 10 seconds of the officer’s life.

When a police radio, belonging to George Elms, is found beside a detective, murdered near to the police station, he’s immediately under suspicion. His behaviour in the previous novel has left him suspended from duty, with a broken marriage and a drink problem. His violent arrest is only a taste of what’s to come as George fights to prove his innocence and protect his family from harm.

It’s gritty, harrowing account of an unknown assassin spreading panic throughout the local police force. The story is tense, exciting and fast paced as the violence escalates towards the climax, where the novel stops abruptly, without resolving many of the key issues. I’m guessing these will be addressed in the next story.

I have to admit here and now, as well written and tense as the narrative was, it didn’t engage me. It wasn’t the violence or delivery of events, which were well-written. I’m also prepared to suspend disbelief in view of what was happening, but I struggled with the characterisation, especially the chief, Helen Webb, and many of the police officers involved. They were as cold as the killer. In fact, the whole story was bleak and despairing, concluding with an ending that left so much unresolved.

It’s a shame because I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the series.


“A man is standing in front of me with a gun. He has a message for me and for us all. He says that he will come for us. He will come for all of us, one by one. Until it is finished.”

Police Constable Matthew Riley is called to an emergency on a blazing hot day in Langthorne. He is forced to read out these words live on police radio. Then he is shot dead.

One of the tensest, most authentic police thrillers you will read this year. Full of twists and turns, you won’t want to put this down until the shocking conclusion.

Someone is killing the officers of the Langthorne Police one by one. And in a sadistic twist he makes each victim push their radio panic button before they die, thus broadcasting their last moments to the entire force.

And as the police face this ruthless adversary, Detective George Elms is in no fit state to help. He can barely keep his life together and is desperate to sort things out with his estranged wife and daughter. What is the connection between ruthless former officer Ed Kavski and the wave of killings? And can their boss Helen Webb do anything to stop the carnage?

Panic Button by Charlie Gallagher

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