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by Adrian Magson
Severn House, February 2011
256 pages
19.99 GBP
ISBN: 0727880136

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Former M15 agent, Harry Tate, has a new job: one that involves finding people. He's tasked with tracing a Libyan banker who has disappeared with a large amount of money. Tate tracks him down to a remote cottage on the Norfolk coast but matters gain an added complication shortly after Tate's visit when the man is murdered. Tate is told that the people he's working for will send in a clean-up team, but there's just one problem Tate hasn't given anyone the address. When his next target is also killed, Takes suspicions deepen and he takes some persuading to get involved in a third job.

This is a fairly straight-forward, serviceable thriller that, refreshingly, doesn't place too much reliance on car chases and gun battles to keep the reader's attention. Harry Tate comes over as a relatively ordinary bloke who's just trying to get on with his job as around him the body count rises steadily while he does his best to connect events into a recognizable pattern. He's helped by a likeable side-kick, Rik Ferris, an IT and communications specialist who just happens to be another ex-MI5 agent.

Life becomes even more complicated for Tate and Ferris when their investigation leads them in the direction of Joanne Archer, a woman who's doing her best to stay alive while she tries to work out why she has ended up on someone's kill list. In many ways it's the more minor characters that help carry this book and Joanne Archer is a good example. She was trained as an undercover operative before being placed in Baghdad as a personal protection specialist masquerading as a secretary, the final line of defense if a team of bodyguards failed, which as it turned out, they did. She provides much of the interest in a book that might otherwise have been a fairly stereotypical male dominated thriller, and a scene where she puts her training to use, much to the dismay of her companions, was one of the parts I enjoyed the most.

Overall, this isn't a book that will get a reader's pulse racing, but it managed to keep my interest ticking over, and I'd be willing to go on another outing with Tate and his friends again.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, April 2011

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