Friday, 26 October 2018

Wot I'm reading: the hunt for another Muslim fanatic

Frederick Forsyth: THE KILL LIST


Frederick Forsyth has been keeping us up past our bedtimes since his nerve-shredding debut in 1971, The Day of the Jackal (of which I have a cherished first edition). The Kill List proves that, decades later, he is still a master of his art. As topical as you could wish for, this has a Mission Impossible-style ex-marine, codenamed ‘the Tracker’, tasked with hunting down a secretive Muslim fanatic called ‘the Preacher’ whose disciples are carrying out random suicide killings in the US and the UK.

Forsyth outlines terrorist cells and those who pursue them across cyberspace and the deserts of the Middle East with all the accuracy and immediacy of a TV documentary. His style is succinct, with telling little sketches: in a refugee camp outside Mogadishu “they had no sanitation, food, employment or hope”. Background details like this aren’t allowed to slow down the pace as the Tracker and a talented teenage hacker relentlessly breach the Preacher’s online defences and identify who he is, his history and his whereabouts.

All the plotlines, including an Israeli spy in a Somali market town and a Swedish billionaire’s son kidnapped by pirates, converge on a hamlet in the middle of nowhere and a Bin Laden-style kill-and-rescue operation. If you’ve never jumped out of a plane at 25,000 feet with a 40-kilo rucksack of ammo and survival kit, get ready for it now! Forsyth takes you there as vividly as a virtual-reality theme park ride. Not many thrillers are as thrilling as this.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Wow! I'm on a Novel Prize "longlist"




That's a NOVEL prize - not the NOBEL Prize!

LILLIAN AND THE ITALIANS is on the "longlist" (22 out of 77 entries) for the Retreat West Novel Prize.

Extracts from Lillian and the Italians can be found on www.davidgeebooks.com

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Here's a link to Retreat West. The winner gets published by them ....


Friday, 12 October 2018

Wot I'm reading: psychos are getting weirder!

Jeffery Deaver: THE BURIAL 

HOUR


The last time an American psycho lured us to Italy it was Hannibal Lector, eviscerating a police inspector in Florence. Now US investigators Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs pursue a colourful villain who calls himself ‘The Composer’ to Naples, where this off-the-scale weirdo is orchestrating the panicked final hours of kidnap victims into a composition to honour his ‘Muse’ (whose identity is one of the story’s many surprises).

This is fairly extreme stuff. But with bone and skin collectors in his track record, Jeffery Deaver has made a speciality of the more exotic reaches of parapsychology. Lincoln and Amelia have complex relations with the various Italian law enforcement agencies involved in the case, introducing us to some colourful – and appealing – characters in both the agencies and the refugee community which Stefan, The Composer, is targeting. Towards the end the investigation undergoes a spectacular twist – another of Mr Deaver’s trademarks. Stefan, like Hannibal, is a man of many parts.

I’m not sure I found The Burial Hour entirely plausible – who needs plausibility? – but I certainly did find it enthralling and as satisfying as a glass of grappa (for which Lincoln Rhyme acquires a new taste).