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by Adrian Magson
Creme de la Crime, November 2004
288 pages
ISBN: 0954763424

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Riley Gavin is a tenacious investigative reporter with a nose for a front page splash and a talent for finding trouble. And she gets both in spades when she starts digging around into the murder of two old codgers on the south coast of England -- and discovers that old gangsters never retire.

Her hunt for the story takes her from the south coast to London to Spain and back. NO PEACE FOR THE WICKED turns out to be a good little page turner. We're not talking deep, meaningful and saving the world here, but it doesn't matter. Adrian Magson's a slick, accomplished writer who can plot neatly and keep a story moving.

The book's greatest strength is probably its tight focus -- there's none of that cast of thousands and implausible boomeranging around the globe so beloved of certain thriller writers. Instead, there's a main cast of no more than eight -- more than half of them decidedly creepy -- and a setting firmly anchored in either London or Spain.

Riley's agent Donald Brask, a sort of fixer with fingers in all manner of pies, insists she hooks up with someone who can watch her back. And she soon discovers that the names of the dead men close a lot of doors and that security firms are unaccountably booked up well ahead when she comes looking for help.

Eventually Frank Palmer, a former military policeman, agrees to help her out -- but only after he's been a target for the sinister thugs who are trying to dissuade Riley from writing her story. And then there's the handsome John Mitcheson who crosses paths with Riley when she's on holiday in Spain, and keeps popping up thereafter in unlikely places.

My main criticism of NO PEACE FOR THE WICKED is the lack of characterisation. Riley, Frank and John are all a bit sketchy and they've been dumped into the story with no back story or fleshing out. We're provided with a scraping of past history for Mitcheson to justify his actions, but Riley in particular is as we find her on the pages. But that aside I like the thought of Magson building on them and bringing them back for further adventures.

NO PEACE FOR THE WICKED is the third release for new UK publishing house Creme de la Crime and as with the earlier two releases, WORKING GIRLS and A KIND OF PURITAN, it's a more than competent read by a writer new to the genre.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, November 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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