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Reviews

May 2011

Gordon Ferris - The Hanging Shed

"A three in the morning, bleary-eyed, how am I going to get up for work in the morning pleasure."

Synopsis:
Glasgow, 1946: The last time Douglas Brodie came home it was 1942 and he was a dashing young soldier in a kilt. Now, the war is over but victory's wine has soured and Brodie is back in Scotland to try and save childhood friend Hugh Donovan from the gallows. Everyone thought Donovan was dead, shot down in the war. Perhaps it would have been kinder if he had been killed. The man who returned was unrecognizable: mutilated, horribly burned. Donovan keeps his own company, only venturing out for heroin to deaden the pain of his wounds. When a local boy is found raped and murdered, there is only one suspect.
Donovan claims he's innocent but a mountain of evidence says otherwise.

Despite the hideousness of the crime, ex-policeman Brodie feels compelled to try and help his one-time friend. Working with Donovan's advocate Samantha Campbell, Brodie trawls both the mean streets of the Gorbals and the green hills of western Scotland in their search for the truth. What they find is an unholy alliance of church, police and Glasgow's deadliest razor gang, happy to slaughter to protect their dark secrets.

As time runs out for the condemned man, and the tally of murdered innocents rises, Brodie reverts to his wartime role as a trained killer. It's them or him…

Review:
The Hanging Shed was already a real word-of-mouth success story before the hardback hit the shelves. As an e-book it apparently sold over 50,000 units and I'm happy to report that this is every bit as good as Gordon Ferris' growing army of e- buyers might suggest.

This is a just-one-more-page sort of book. A three in the morning, bleary-eyed, how am I going to get up for work in the morning pleasure.
Ferris demonstrates his ability to tell a good story from the outset. Without wasting any time we are introduced to our hero and to the dilemma facing his one-time school friend. And as dilemmas go they don't come much more compelling than a (possibly) innocent man facing the gallows and the race to prove his innocence.

The pace is enabled by short chapters, snappy prose and a shed load of unanswered questions. And then there's the city of Glasgow, in all its post-war splendour and dirt. This writer's Glasgow is a fascinating city with the grim and the glamorous jostling cheek by jowl. The sense of place and time in The Hanging Shed is utterly convincing and lifts this book from the run of the mill to the must read.

Here we have razor gangs, Irish terrorists, corrupt police and church officials. Add to the mix a maltreated war hero and a driven detective and you have a compelling and hugely satisfying tale.

Reviewed by: M.M.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Stephen Booth - The Devil's Edge

"...this is a series that just gets better with every book."

Synopsis:
A gang of violent thugs has been burgling properties and terrorising the inhabitants of the Peak District. When a well-off couple in an affluent area are found murdered it is assumed that the gang has struck again. Newly promoted Detective Sergeant Ben Cooper is assigned to the case. He knows the area well and soon begins to think that other motives are the cause of the deaths, He delves into the background and relationships of the neighbours in the case and teases out a host of undercurrents and emotions that could play a part in the deaths.

Feelings in the area are running high and when Ben's brother shoots an intruder on his farm, Ben is taken off the case and old adversary Detective Sergeant Diane Fry is put in charge. Unofficially Ben continues to take an interest and together with new officer, Carol Villiers, finally tracks down the killer.

Review:
This is a case where local knowledge, both of geography and people is crucial to solving the case. Stephen Booth describes both beautifully. The local landscape is both scenic and atmospheric and definitely adds to the feeling of threat and menace. The beauty of the Devil's Edge and the surrounding moorland, as well as the sinister pools and strangely named landmarks build up the suspense.

Ben Cooper and his family are satisfyingly normal, with the normal tensions and support. Diane Fry, on the other hand, is an enigma. The interaction between the two adds to the pattern of the story.

This is the first of the series that I have read but I will now be returning to Booth's debut novel, 'Black Dog' and making my way through the remainder of his other books. From the standard of 'The Devil's Edge I would say this is a series that just gets better with every book.

Reviewed by: S.D.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Adrian McKinty - Falling Glass

"...my read of the year so far..."

Synopsis:
Killian makes a living enforcing other people's laws, doling out threats, collecting debts and finding people. Retired hitman, Michael Forsythe sets Killian up with the best pay-day of his life: Richard Coulter, the richest man in Ireland, politically connected, owner of a budget airline, needs someone with certain talents to find his wife and two daughters. He offers Killian half a million to track her down and bring her back.

Killian has been round the block a few times. Half a million to return his wife and daughters? He would normally do such a job for a whole lot less. As Killian follows Rachel Coulter's trail he begins to see that there is a lot more to this case than meets the eye and a secret held by some very dangerous men for over 30 years may be the one where he finally runs out of time. And luck.

Review:
Falling Glass is the first time I've read Adrian McKinty and judging by this book I need to go out now, today, to buy the rest of his oeuvre.
This is a near faultless work from McKinty which quite honestly never left my hand from the sharp opening until the pitch-perfect ending. The driver for this wonderful read was the central character of Killian. He is a hard man with the nous to get “the job” done and if that is achieved by his fist or his wit then he'll pick the tool most apt for the job.

Killian is tired and thought he was out of the life but the failing economy has meant he has had to fall back on his old job to help him make ends meet. This is a clever plot device that allows McKinty to layer his story with commentary on the state of the modern Ireland and its place in the world and to demonstrate the moral complexity of his main character. As an amusing aside, it also gives him a chance to plant an elbow into the ribs of a well-known Irish airline owner.

In keeping with the complexity of Killian, the rest of the cast are every bit as finely drawn. No-one is quite who you expect them to be. I particularly enjoyed the Russian hitman who is sent after Killian once he goes rogue on his employer.

This is an archetypal tale of a man who is sent to find a woman he then falls for. What keeps the story fresh and fascinating is the quick-fire pace, the insight into his characters and the quality of the prose. Adrian McKinty is a fine stylist who says much with a few carefully chosen words and he rounds this off with touches of mythology and whispers of the arcane.

Falling Glass is a work that enhances the genre and the writer's already solid reputation. It is my read of the year so far and one I would heartily recommend.

Reviewed by: M.M.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Oliver Harris - The Hollow Man

"‘The Hollow Man’ is another great debut novel you cannot afford to miss!"

Synopsis:
Detective Nick Belsey is broke. Now it looks like he's out of a job – something happened last night, something with the boss's wife…

At dawn, on what should be the last day of Belsey's career, Hampstead CID is ghostly quiet. Belsey checks the overnight files. There's a missing-person report. But this one is different. It's on the Bishops Avenue, London's richest street. Belsey sees a scam, an escape route.

But he hasn't got there first.

Review:
This book is being advertised as the first in a new series of crime novels. But when I started reading and realised just how deep the problems were for Nick Belsey I wondered how he could ever come back from the brink and that surely this must be a standalone novel. To me, Belsey was so bent he was circular! On the verge of bankruptcy he was resorting to getting money from any means possible: be they legal or not. But there was quite a lot of humour in the book, if only from the situations that Belsey found himself in.

Belsey is quite a paradoxical character - still working as a detective to solve crimes, but also willing to overlook other laws to serve his own interests. The plot itself was also quite intricate and interesting and made for a great read.

He is a character that I will enjoy seeing return in future novels and I am sure he will not be one to toe the line and attracts trouble like a magnet. Belsey is an unconventional detective who makes for an interesting read. 'The Hollow Man' is another great debut novel you cannot afford to miss!

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Leigh Russell - Dead End

"...a macabre read, full of enthralling characters and gruesome details which kept me glued from first page to last. "

Synopsis:
The headless corpse of headmistress Abigail Kirby is found in the woods beside a recreational area. The police are horrified to discover that her tongue was removed as she lay dying.

This is the beginning of another harrowing case for DI Geraldine Steel; a potential witness is murdered and blinded as things spiral away from Steel's control. To make matters worse Kirby's teenage daughter runs away from home to meet with an online friend. Too late she realises the rendezvous may cost her her life.

Meanwhile DS Ian Peterson uncovers a shocking secret about the serial killer who has been mutilating his victims. Can his discovery prevent his boss from joining the list of victims?

Review:
Leigh Russell is an English teacher by trade and it would give me great pleasure to be able to point out mistakes such as non-conjugated verbs (whatever they are) and incomplete sentences, however my personal battle with English teachers ended twenty something years ago when I left school, and it would be churlish and unfair of me to exact revenge on somebody who is only guilty by association.

What I can do though is give a fair and unbiased appraisal of an English teachers work. In short I found Dead End to be a macabre read, full of enthralling characters and gruesome details which kept me glued from first page to last.

The characterisation involved in all of the central roles including Geraldine Steel, Ian Paterson, young Lucy & Ben, Matthew Kirby and his mistress Charlotte was first class (no pun intended) and showed a great understanding of human traits and a keen eye for detail as well as a finger on the pulse of youth culture and trending. Steel is an endearing character full of self doubts, who is on something of a personal crusade as well as battling to solve the case. This crusade carries over from the previous book and I'm sure will re-appear in future tomes to give an added depth to the lead character.

The plot see-saws back and forth with an obvious suspect who seemed just too obvious to me, yet there was no evidence to back up the suspicions I had. For once I'm not going to tell you if I guessed the killer correctly, I'm going to let you draw your own conclusions on that one. A neat sub-plot further muddied the waters and when the final reveal is brought to light all the loose ends are neatly tied up.

The prose is a delight as you would expect from such a learned source and the passages of dialogue are exactly what you would expect to hear from the respective characters. The subject of bullying came up and was dealt with by showing understanding, compassion and sensitivity from the school staff, whereas in my day half the teachers were bullies themselves.

I'd happily sign up for detention, if it was reading one of Mrs Russell's books.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Dreda Say Mitchell - Hit Girls

"Mitchell is a great author with an excellent writing style..."

Synopsis:
Two ten-year-old twin sisters are murdered outside their school. But they aren't just anyone's kids, they are gangster Stanley Lewis' daughters. When a rival gangster is arrested Stanley vows to take revenge. But his dad, feared villain Kenny Lewis, thinks there's more going on. So he contacts the one group of people who he trusts to help him find the truth...

Jackie, Anna, Roxy and Ollie. Four women with shady pasts who take the cases people don't take to the cops. They enter a world of easy sex and even easier violence where everyone, including the Lewis family is hiding secrets. They soon realise someone will do anything to stop them finding out the truth. A truth, so shocking, it will tear the community apart.

Review:
Mitchell is being 'sold' as the new Martina Cole. However, I think her books have a different edge to those of Cole's as there is an element of mystery and intrigue to them, rather than just an insight into the world of gangsters. One thing I do find frustrating in these novels is that the women are either immensely successful and powerful, or dreadfully weak and reliant on men, alcohol or drugs, with nothing in between.

Hit Girls (and please don't be put off by the title of the book) did have a good plot with interesting story lines to keep the reader wanting to read more, with lots of surprises, and some more predictable outcomes. Mitchell is a great author with an excellent writing style and in some ways I feel her talents are somewhat wasted in writing these type of books as I believe she could write a novel with a lot more depth and substance. Hit Girls was let down slightly by some stereotyping and conforming to type with this genre of books, but on the whole I enjoyed it.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Wilbur Smith - Those In Peril

"...a barnstorming addition to the portfolio of the grandmaster of the grand adventure."

Synopsis:
The owner of Bannock Oil Corporation, Hazel Bannock has her private yacht stolen by pirates whilst in the Indian Ocean. Her teenage daughter Kayla is aboard and is kidnapped by the pirates.

Ex SAS Major, Hector Cross runs a security firm contracted to protect Bannock Oil. His loyalty to the Bannock family is unquestioned, until now.

The ransom demands for Kayla's safe release are cripplingly unrealistic and even someone as rich and politically connected as Hazel Bannock cannot raise the funds or call in favours to ensure her release.

As evidence of Kayla's mistreatment at the hands of her captors is sent to Hazel, she has to call on Cross to help rescue her daughter. Between them they embark on a hazardous mission to rescue Kayla even if it means taking the law into their own hands.

Review:
If someone had asked me who would be the best author to write a story with the bad guys being Somali pirates then my unhesitating answer would have been Wilbur Smith. His knowledge, love for and complete understanding of all things African have long been a trademark of his books. Those in Peril follows these themes and traits and no other author can describe such a vast and varied land with his authority and emotive details.

The story is beset with all you would expect from Smith; strong hard men, tough beautiful women, love stories, brutal violence and heart-stopping, adrenaline sapping set pieces. The plot is cleverly scripted although straightforward in the extreme. Wilbur Smith doesn't often do mystery; instead he tells you who is who and lets you watch the ensuing action. Although having said this, there are double agents and surprises to be enjoyed. Some parts of the overall feel didn't quite ring true but there were few enough instances for this to be a major problem.

The characters were all as good as you would expect from a master penman who has produced strong lead characters for 45 years. Hector Cross and Hazel Bannock are no exception. Other main characters such as Tariq, Paddy, Adam Kayla and Uthmann all receive the same care and attention to detail but for me the best creations among the supporting ensemble were Nastiya and Nella.

In the hands of Smith prose is a revered object, whether setting the scene, describing intimate moments, portraying savagery or commentating on events. Each word does its job to perfection. He also has the master's knack of knowing when to use detail and when to imply. Love scenes are almost pornographic in their detail and sexual assault is dealt with impersonally and through scarce suggestion, not vivid description. Those of a weaker disposition should beware though as some of the violent acts perpetrated are horrific in the savage brutality.

All in all 'Those in Peril' is a barnstorming addition to the portfolio of the grandmaster of the grand adventure. If you haven't read Wilbur Smith before, read this and you'll be hooked.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Barbara Nadel - A Noble Killing

"Inspector Ikmen continues to be an outstanding detective and admirable hero."

Synopsis:
A young girl is found burnt to death in an Istanbul apartment. At first sight it appears to be a suicide, but it is not long before Inspector Cetin Ikmen believes that it is more sinister than that. He believes that the girl's own family, or possibly a secret boyfriend, are involved. Nothing is clear, however , as the family have an alibi. Two young boys, talented musicians, are somehow implicated and when their music teacher is brutally murdered, the trail leads to a possible sinister plot and organised crime.

Inspector Mehmet Suleyman, Cetin's colleague, is distracted by an extra-marital passion with a gypsy dancer. It is on all levels dangerous and unsuitable, but Suleyman is totally consumed by the liaison. His judgement is impaired and leads the investigation in the wrong direction.
Danger is on all sides and threatens the police themselves.

Review:
Barbara Nadel's sympathetic description of Istanbul as it is developing in the present day continues to be absolutely fascinating. The influx of the country people with their very different religious perspective and the reactions of the existing cosmopolitan population of this vibrant city is totally absorbing. It has ramifications everywhere, but it reads as a knowledgeable account from one who loves the place.

Inspector Ikmen continues to be an outstanding detective and admirable hero. He is honest, conscientious and caring about those who are victims of the crimes he investigates. In this book, his colleague and completely opposite character, Suleyman, is going through a very difficult patch. Ikmen finds it difficult to understand, but is always sympathetic and supportive of his friend. The development of the characters' lives from each book is always convincing and adds to the enjoyment of the story. The various strands of the plot are carefully interwoven and culminate in an extremely satisfying ending.

Reviewed by: S.D.

CrimeSquad Rating:

David Ellis - Breach of Trust

"...a mix of legal thriller, politics, murder and government corruption. "

Synopsis:
Jason Kolarich is investigating the murder of Ernesto Ramirez, a key witness in a criminal case that he tried. Jason had been pushing him for information, but all he got was the guy's death on his conscience. Who murdered Ramirez, and why?

When the evidence leads to an obscure agency in state government, Jason is hood-winked into being a federal informant.

The feds are desperate to build their case against the government, but Jason has got his own agenda. Will he be an asset to their case, or will he prove to be a live wire?

Review:
Ellis, and one of my favourite characters, Kolarich (Kola, like the drink and rich as in lots of money - just read the book!) return in a Breach of Trust, a mix of legal thriller, politics, murder and government corruption.

With the huge disparity between UK and American politics it is sometimes hard to imagine the full extent of how and why people get so involved in the political side of things as it seems so much more intense in the States, and the sums of money needed to run for a political post are exorbitant, but it still made for an interesting read. Having Kolarich as the main protagonist with his 'devil-may-care' attitude makes him hard to dislike.

I was expecting a twist to one of the plots but I think this was more down to my over expectations rather than the book failing to deliver.

All in all this was an excellent read, despite the heavy involvement in politics (which has never been a favourite of mine) and a cast of thousands (which can be sure to confuse me!) – but still one not to be missed.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Will Carver - Girl 4

"I believe we will be hearing a lot more from Mr. Carver."

Synopsis:
Detective Inspector January David has always put his professional before his private life, but the two worlds are about to clash horrifically as he visits his latest crime scene. He is confronted by a lifeless figure suspended ten feet above a theatre stage, blood pouring from her face into a coffin below.

This gruesome execution is the work of an elusive serial killer. Three women from three different London suburbs, each murdered with elaborate and chilling precision.

As January stares at the most beautiful corpse he's ever seen, he detects the killer's hallmark. But Girl 4 is different: she is alive - barely.

And January recognises her.

Review:
'Girl 4' starts off slightly hard to follow as all the characters write in the first person and often skip from past to present tense, but this is a minor criticism of an otherwise great read. And whilst to begin with I found this slightly off putting, after a while I actually enjoyed seeing each scene from the perspective of both the victim and the perpetrator.

There are parts here that are slightly confusing and I did feel at the end of the book there were many questions left unanswered but I am hoping these will be dealt with in future novels and that D.I. January David will return as he is an interesting character who offers something different to the usual run-of-the-mill detective.

D.I. David is a character who is more than he appears to be and there is quite a nice twist at the end with one of the other main players in the book. But although the twist is unexpected, there were no reasons as to why, which left it slightly flat for me. For me, there were far too many unanswered questions. However, I do feel that this writer will go from strength to strength and I believe we will be hearing a lot more from Mr. Carver.

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Claire Seeber - Fragile Minds

"The prose is deliciously blunt and forthright even when dealing with sensitive issues... "

Synopsis:
After a bomb explodes outside the London Academy of Ballet, the police suspect it is yet another terrorist attack. However for DCI Joe Silver the pieces really don't fit and he is struggling to find any real suspects.

Claudie is recovering from a terrible personal tragedy and suffering black-outs when her friend dies in the bomb blast she fears that she may somehow be involved – if only she could recall her actions.

When Silver investigates further into events he is stunned to discover his own links to the explosion. Can Claudie and Silver make sense of all the turmoil and get the truth before another life is needlessly lost?

Review:
Rarely is a book so aptly titled as almost every main character has undergone a past traumatic experience and is still living with the day to day consequences.

Fragile Minds is not an easy read, but it is a rewarding one. You are taken on a journey through the minds of participants of events and each has their own personal sub-plot.

Joe Silver is the typical DCI with a broken family life. Yet he fills the role well and his ex-wife's turmoil and guilt works well as a driving factor. Claudie is a deeply disturbed woman who has borne terrible tragedy. Tessa is a mysterious force who impacts on all around her. Rafe is an MP with their usual predilection for getting into trouble. These are just a few of the many characters who populate this tale and each of them along with others all have a strong bearing on the outcome.

The plot is myriad and the reader has to pay close attention to keep on top of the different threads which weave this tapestry. The prose is deliciously blunt and forthright even when dealing with sensitive issues as Seeber chooses to give you just enough information to manipulate your thoughts and senses.

This is my first meeting with Claire Seeber's books and while Fragile Minds is not necessarily a book I would have chosen myself. I am glad that I have read it, as it is an excellent story well told.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Sean Slater - The Survivor

"...starts exactly the way I like a book to start - in the thick of the action..."

Synopsis:
In his first hour back from a six month leave of absence, Detective Jacob Striker's day quickly turns into a nightmare. He is barely on scene five minutes at his daughter's high school when he encounters an 'Active Shooter' situation. Three men wearing hockey masks, black, white and red, have stormed the school with firearms and are killing indiscriminately. Striker takes immediate action.

Within minutes, two of the gunmen are dead and Striker is close to ending the violence. But before Striker can react, Red Mask flees - and escapes.

Against the clock, he investigates the killings for which there is no known motive and no suspect. Soon his investigation takes him into darker places and he realises that everything at Saint Patrick's High is not as it appears. The closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous his world becomes.

Review:
This book starts exactly the way I like a book to start - in the thick of the action. The reader is gripped from page one, but the author still makes time to build and get to know the characters throughout the book without having to wait countless chapters for the action to start.

Striker, as many of the lead characters, is a troubled policeman, often in trouble for being subordinate, but always getting the job done and only breaking rules to get a result. He has a blossoming relationship with his partner, which I am sure will develop in future novels.

The plot is very intricate and one would be hard pressed to guess as to why the crime took place. This is not the sort of book where you are given any sort of clues that allow the reader to guess, or even when you find out the motive, with hindsight kick yourself for overlooking the obvious clues you had been given (and trying to solve the clues does add to the enjoyment of a book for me).

That said, it was still very well written and enjoyable, and even at nearly 500 pages it didn't have the feel that it went on for too long. This is title is definitely worth putting on your 'to read' list!

Reviewed by: H.A.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Stephen Hunter - I, Sniper

"...would appeal to fans of Lee Child and David Baldacci..."

Synopsis:
Four famous1960's radicals are gunned down leaving the FBI with what looks like an open and shut case as all the evidence implicates former Marine sniper Carl Hitchcock. Hitchcock was once the holder of the record number of kills in Vietnam and his suicide seems to confirm his guilt. FBI assistant director Nick Memphis is unconvinced and calls in another Ex Marine Corps sniper named Bob Lee Swagger to investigate from a snipers point of view.

When Swagger begins to unravel the tangled web of connections surrounding the murders, he finds he is up against his most dangerous enemy yet – another sniper whose intelligence and accuracy rival his own. The trail leads to a bloody confrontation which only one man will survive.

Review:
This book is not officially a Crimesquad.com read as I dug it out of my personal “to read” pile but I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share the experience with Crimesquad.com's readers. Over the years I have enjoyed many of Hunter's books about Bob Lee Swagger and his father Earl and I Sniper is easily as good as any of the previous novels.

As Bob Lee is aging, so his challenges are becoming more cerebral than physical compared to earlier outings, yet Hunter manages to do this without losing sense of pace or drive to the novel. Instead he has created a flowing novel which keeps the story in your sights at all times. Some of the deductive reasoning is first class and would sit well in any detective based novel.

I sniper is not a detective novel though, it is best described as a crime action thriller and would appeal to fans of Lee Child and David Baldacci as it seems to form a middle ground between these two esteemed authors. Does it sit well in this area and does the author have the skill to compete? Yes and Yes would be my answers as Swagger is a throwback to the days when honour meant more than fame and he does what he considers to be right regardless of the personal risk or the legality of his actions. He is a man driven by his code and never has the term of Straight Shooter been more applicable as he is also superb marksman. Memphis, Anto Grogan, Denny Washington and Jean Chandler all provide excellent support, but it is the lone sniper who counts the most in this battle.

Stephen Hunter's prose comes alive and transports you to a different place alongside the protagonists. At some points in the novel I found myself closing one eye so I could peer through the telescopic sights with Swagger.

The plot is carefully constructed to wheel you back and forth, gently throwing up a few minor surprises on the way to a wonderful finish which wholly encapsulates everything good about Bob Lee Swagger.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Will Adams - The Eden Legacy

"Will Adams serves up yet another fine helping of adventure, intrigue and history."

Synopsis:
Off the coast of Madagascar underwater archaeologist Daniel Knox is in hiding and is working under an alias while searching for the wreck of a Chinese treasure ship. When an old friend and her father disappear from their idyllic Eden nature reserve, he breaks cover to investigate.

This gives a perfect opportunity for Georgian gangster Ilya Nergadze to pick up his trail. He sends a pair of hit men after Knox to settle an old score. Also headed to Eden is TV zoologist Rebecca Kirkpatrick who is determined to find her estranged sister and father.

As the pair chase their answers it becomes startlingly clear that Eden's beautiful reefs and forests hide secrets which can rewrite the history of the New World.

Review:
Will Adams serves up yet another fine helping of adventure, intrigue and history. The pace of the book will cause readers to miss appointments, family occasions and even meals as you just have to know what happens next. The plot is a fairly straightforward old fashioned race to find someone in distress while being pursued by bad guys.

Knox is still mentally recovering from the events of his last adventure and this gives Adams a chance to play with his emotions in a new way. Rebecca is a take-no-nonsense character and there are some wonderful exchanges between the two. The Georgian hoods disappointed me slightly as they were not up to the standards set by previous characters Knox has had to face.

When all is said and done, The Eden Legacy is a welcome addition to the Daniel Knox series of adventures and Adams has again given me some great entertainment.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

Alex Berenson - The Silent Man

"Wells is a modern day James Bond with more than a hint of Jack Bauer thrown in for good measure."

Synopsis:
After 2 extremely dangerous missions, John Wells the CIA special agent is living on the edge, under guard. He knows though, that he has made far too many enemies to relax and when his girlfriend Jennifer Exley is injured in an attack and left for dead he embarks on a personal mission to revenge the attempt on their lives.

His quest leads him to Moscow and Europe where he discovers a psychotic arms dealer was behind the attack and - much more terrifying - he also stumbles across a plot to detonate a nuclear device on America soil.

The nuclear weapon is one of two stolen from a Russian arms depot...

Review:
This is Berenson's third book and is the forerunner to The Midnight House which was released earlier this year. As ever, the pace of the story is carried steadily along by events and while not the paciest of writers, Berenson is by no means a slouch.

The plot is tightly wound around Wells' desire to wreak revenge on those behind the attempt on his life and the stolen Russian Warheads. Each gives excellent value for money as they allow both reader and writer to explore their personal opinions on vengeance, patriotism and love.

Wells is a little bit stereotyped as the tough maverick agent who deals with things his own way and to hell with the consequences, yet the author's penmanship is more the good enough to get away with this.

Exley is deftly depicted as the woman who has won his heart but cannot control his head. Ellis Shafer and all the other character's draw the correct responses from the reader and of particular note is the way the terrorist's reasons for joining the fight are told. Each has a short back story which makes complete sense.

I found The Silent Man thoroughly enjoyable and look forward to reading more of John Wells' escapades in the future. Wells is a modern day James Bond with more than a hint of Jack Bauer thrown in for good measure.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating: