Author – Kevin Wignall
Published – 1 Jan 2016
Genre – Thriller
I’ve seen Kevin Wignall as a participant and / or moderator at number of crime fiction events but to my shame had not read anything by him, so I was pleased to get the opportunity put this right.
The book opens, as you might imagine, in Sweden and with a death – that of a mysterious man who selflessly dies trying to save a fellow passenger in a bus crash. In Madrid, ex-CIA agent Dan Hendricks is occupied locating and extracting targets for whichever power pays the most. As he scopes out a man and his life for a suitable opportunity to ambush him, it becomes clear that while this has all the elements of a traditional spy thriller, Wignall has given Hendricks a more introspective nature than might be expected. Despite his relatively young age Hendricks is feeling a little reflective and his mood isn’t helped by the possibility that the deaths of a number of former CIA colleagues point to a ‘clean-up’ operation by their former employer.
Once the current job is completed and it becomes clear that he and his colleagues are now the hunted the pace picks up. A meeting with a former boss who’s moving to a new organisation tips Hendricks off that there’s a connection worth investigating between the mysterious death in Sweden and the man heading up the operation to target Hendricks and colleagues.
There’s lots of good old-fashioned cloak and dagger aspects to this story, a mix of traditional spy and trained assassin with a background of political intrigue and machinations. A good mix of pace balanced by more tense scenes.
I was surprised that the dialogue wasn’t more humourous – although perhaps not a first choice in a thriller it’s something you can’t fail to notice about Wignall himself. Nevertheless, the main character is likeable and despite the nature of his work he has his own moral code and a line that he won’t cross but he’s no wuss. It’s a fine line to tread in a thriller at the risk of seeming to either tone down the action or preach to the reader, but I thought it came across very credibly here.
I bought this as a ‘Kindle first’.