Rapid Reviews: short, sweet and savage

Cops, robbers, spies and killers: here’s half a dozen crime-thrillers with a little bit of everything – including a blood-soaked American roadtrip, top-notch Nordic noir, British political conspiracy, psychopathic siblings and the John Cardinal book they didn’t make into a TV series… ROBBERS by Christopher Cook One of those one-hit-wonder authors who delivered brilliance and…

Joe Country: English espionage

Brilliant but baffling. If you’re new to the Slough House series then that’s your likely reaction to this, the sixth in the sequence of modern-day spook stories. Joe Country is not one of those dip-in, dip-out, ‘can be read as a standalone’ novels. Each book in the Jackson Lamb series is a chapter in an…

The Righteous Spy: superb spy story

Maybe, like me, you had high hopes when Stella Rimington started writing espionage adventure novels. After all, she was the first female head honcho at MI5. Surely her spy stories would be brilliant? And maybe, like me, you were deeply disappointed by Rimington’s unremarkable early outings which fell far short of their tantalising potential. After…

Russian Roulette: Brit grit with a SovBloc scoundrel

Ex-KGB agent Konstantin – most definitely an international man of murky mystery – has somehow washed up on the shores of England’s seedy Kent coast, and he’s carving a niche for himself among the lowlives and street-scum of a dilapidated seaside town. This is effectively Konstantin’s origin story, told in a series of seven interlocking…

Seven Hells: menace, murder and manipulation

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…

The Drop: an intriguing interlude

If you’ve read the author’s Slough House / Jackson Lamb series of intellectual espionage adventures then you’ll find yourself on familiar territory with this tightly-plotted short story. It’s set in the same universe, with a couple of overlapping characters from the main spy series – and The Drop shares the same themes of backbiting, in-fighting…

Seven Hells: a new Stoner story

‘The black man stumbled, fell, parts of his head were somehow separated from the rest of him, a curiously unpleasant blend of grey and pink, with darker tones mingling, tangled on the pavement where randomly firing nerves twitched his soul-free body, although not for long…’ Seven Hells by Frank Westworth is out now — and…