By Laurence Watkinson
DCI Bill Ramsbottom: The head of City CID in the Blackpool Metropolitan Police; the detective who has just been got out of bed early on a cold winter’s morning to investigate the stabbing of a black man in a flat in North Shore.
DS Lucy Brown: A detective sergeant who thinks the murderer might just be a certain local politician.
Councillor Henry Middleton-Smith: A local businessman and city councillor; also the national leader of the British National Party, who is regarded in some quarters as a posh racist thug.
Chantelle Hawthorn: Personal assistant to Henry Middleton-Smith, who harbours an ambition to be much more than that.
Chief Constable Sir Ali Dar: A British-Pakistani social climber who tries to combine being more English than the English with not losing his Pakistani Muslim heritage, and who feels he can’t always do right for doing wrong; the top cop who suddenly finds he’s faced with a spate of allegedly racist tit-for-tat killings, major criticism of the Met’s handling of the matter, and a potentially volatile political situation around a BNP conference which may lead to rioting.
Sir Kerry Kitchener: A senior police officer appointed by the government to investigate a spate of allegedly racist murders in Blackpool; a man who himself has previously been accused of tolerating institutionalised racism in the police.
Assistant Commissioner Stephen Simmons: Known as ‘Sensitivity’ Simmons due to his strongly liberal views; an officer appointed to assist Kerry Kitchener, and who might be expected to disagree with Kitchener’s findings regarding the race war some reckon is looming in Blackpool.
Sergeant Eddie Sharpe: a black police officer currently assigned to a heavily-armed unit called DFWU (the Divisional Force Weapons Unit, sometimes known as Don't Fuck With Us); a cop who currently has some personal issues.
Together with miscellaneous police officers, politicians and journalists, members of various religious communities, plus activists from diverse organisations including Outrage, Anti-Fascist Action, Drachma (Divine Retribution Against Child-Murdering Abortionists) and Christian groups campaigning for or against LGBTIQ rights; and also a gay vicar who manages to get mixed up in a good deal of unpleasantness.