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by Roger Pearce
Coronet, June 2012
448 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 1444721852

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Detective Chief Inspector John Kerr runs the covert policing unit of Special Branch. He didn't do his career any good when he used rather extreme methods to deal with a suspected suicide bomber whose actions threatened the life of Kerr's daughter and other passengers on the London Underground. Kerr took things very personally indeed but neither his daughter nor his bosses saw things quite the same way.

When another terrorist threat comes along, Kerr has learnt from his mistake and this time wants to ensure that the suspect leads them to his associates before more lives are lost. But the terrorists aren't the only ones he has to fight. Kerr soon discovers that he also has to battle government corruption as a combination of his own superiors and dodgy politicians are determined to get in the way of his investigation.

Pearce follows the current vogue for starting with a prologue written in the present tense that forms an awkward fit with the rest of the book. My dislike of both prologues and anything written in the present tense meant I almost didn't get past the opening chapter, but despite that, I was pleased that I did persevere. The publishers make much of the author's work as the former commander of Special Branch officer at New Scotland Yard, promising a fast-action thriller and in that respect the book doesn't disappoint. John Kerr is a fairly standard flawed hero with a murky past and an inability to follow orders, even when it brings him into direct conflict with his superiors. The book contains enough detail to lend authenticity without turning it into something that reads like a counter-terrorism training manual.

Corruption in government isn't exactly a new theme, nor is it a hard one to believe but it does make a good backdrop. Pearce writes fluently and the action rarely lags. Anyone who likes a good, solid thriller and an insight into the various agencies charged with guarding against terrorist threats will enjoy Pearce's debut novel and will no doubt be happy to stay on board for the inevitable sequel.

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, June 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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