An American Spy: the Chinese connection

Although this was originally published back in 2012, it’s been given a new lease of life by the current political tensions between China and America. The story couldn’t be more timely – it’s a complex chess game between rival black ops agencies, a deadly competition which has gone far beyond data gathering and counter espionage.…

Ungentlemanly Warfare: a WW2 spy story

Despite what the title suggests, this is an entirely gentlemanly novel of behind-the-lines, undercover activity in occupied France during WW2. It’s an old-school espionage adventure which cleverly captures the classic vibe of films like The Great Escape. I almost expected Dickie Attenborough and Kenneth Moore to appear as character cameos… …and in fact Howard Linskey,…

Three Bullets: dead shot

Kennedy. JFK. The words inevitably scream out ‘assassination’ — then ‘controversy’, ‘conspiracy’. There can be nothing new to say on the subject, surely? RJ Ellory has a lot that’s new to say, and he says it with magnificent effectiveness in Three Bullets. You’ve read the blurb (it’s below, in case you missed it), so I’ll…

Blood Sons: a mafia family

Three striking stories intertwine in this American fable of family and fidelity. The author uses a vicious minor mobster in New York to explore the influence of nurture over nature – and it’s a set-up that works surprisingly well. The Family is all about family… isn’t it? That’s just one of the crime-thriller clichés which…

Typhoon: China spies

An old-school espionage adventure, set in the recent past in Hong Kong, Typhoon explores that pivotal moment when one of the last outposts of England’s old empire faded from Britain’s history and into China’s future. Cumming has an unfussy writing style which at times borders on the basic. There are a couple of segments in…