One thing that never fails to lift my post-Christmas spirits is the annual arrival of a new Gerald Seymour novel. Full disclosure – I absolutely love his writing, and always look forward to a new book. Don’t make the mistake of thinking his novels are always espionage based, because many, including this one, are not. I will say though that as the author has got older (he’s 77 now), his novels seem to have become more dour, grim and unrelenting., and there are usually no happy endings on offer for the main players. This tale revolves around a terrorist plot, in conjunction with the criminal underworld, to bring an automatic rifle into the UK from France, and the undercover police operation to thwart and subvert it. Intertwined with this as a sub-plot is the story of the weapon itself, from its manufacture to the numerous hands it passes through over the years before reaching its present location. I’m not sure this is a totally successful idea as for me it doesn’t add that much to the overall story, and at times actually distracts attention from it. Nevertheless, I found myself immersed in the plot – not many of the characters are particularly likeable, but all are engaging, and while Seymour is always skilled at depicting the ‘Mr Big’s’ of the criminal world, his real strength is in the characterisation of the ‘little people’ caught up in and engulfed by events. Expertly researched and superbly written, this is an engrossing and captivating read for thriller fans.
Length of Read:Long
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
His previous books, other thriller writers such as Frederick Forsyth, John Le Carre .
One thing you’ve learned
I’ve followed this author since his 1975 debut ‘Harry’s Game’, still one of the best thrillers set amid the troubles in Northern Ireland, and I’ve read every one since. I’ve rarely been disappointed and would recommend Seymour’s books to anyone who hasn’t yet tried them.