The latest novella from Frank Westworth sees his occasional assassin, JJ Stoner, on the periphery of – apparently – an extensive terrorist plot. While British security forces – the good guys in uniform and the deniable assets in black – set up their surveillance, Stoner is drawn into the danger zone by an old adversary from the time of The Troubles. What happens next is revealed in a series of interlocking episodes, forming a slow-burn conspiracy thriller to satisfy sophisticated readers. And here’s what some of those readers have been saying about Seven Hells…
A story about JJ Stoner never fails to deliver the goods. Words fired in staccato bursts. Characters that bristle with that innate arrogance that says they will get the job done no matter the odds. No matter whether the setting is in a dark, smoke-filled bar, or a house of God there’s always a hint of menace, always a chance that death is a heartbeat away. What better way to spend an hour than in the company of Stoner, Bernadette and The Hard Man?
The new JJ Stoner thriller from Frank Westworth commences with sharp hard-boiled repartee in a London café, crescendos through MI6 and military prep for a terrorist event, and climaxes with a stunning cultural reversal. In this quick-march tale, the principals—veiled-spook Stoner, MI6’s Hard Man, and soldiers Shard and Bernadette—banter and menace with dark enthusiasm.
JJ Stoner is a hard-boiled, Mike Hammer-esque ex-soldier, gun for hire and raconteur. He’s just as happy verbally sparring over a boozy lunch as he is shooting people, and this story sees a mixture of terrorist conspiracies from the past and present to keep him occupied. Full of pithy asides about the business of violence (I particularly enjoyed ‘Men heading to roofs for nefarious purposes rarely employ the relaxing services of elevators’), Westworth’s narrative style is like a worldly, shady stranger in a boozer half-whispering a dodgy tale. Violent, old-skool and neatly plotted, Seven Hells is a great introduction to Stoner’s gritty, blood-stained world. Recommended.
I’m a new reader to the JJ Stoner series, but I will definitely go back and read everything Mr Westworth has published. This was a taunt thriller with crisp dialogue and characters that didn’t feel flat. If you are a fan of well written page turners, you won’t be disappointed with Seven Hells.
I always look forward to a new JJ Stoner story. This time the ex-secret service man-for-hire becomes embroiled in a potential terror plot. Stoner displays both his usual skills and quips as he wades into the danger and confusion. I enjoy Westworth’s style and there is much to savour in this tense and fast paced novella.