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Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8) Hardcover – 3 Jul 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (3 July 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1408841045
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408841044
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


She bids to join the ranks of such secret-agent authors as Somerset Maugham, Graham Greene and John le Carré (Wall Street Journal)

A wealth of persuasive detail, obviously drawn from first-hand experience (Marie Claire)

This is something rare: the spy novel that prizes authenticity over fabrication that is true to the character and spirit of intelligence work (Mail on Sunday)

For a pacy page-turner, she's a safe bet . . . Rimington is particularly strong in her accounts of procedure, unsurprisingly, given her past role as Head of MI5 (Independent)

Faster than Le Carré, she creates the same sense of real characters struggling with real problems (John Sandford)

Rimington's best work demonstrates a flair for narrative, with a sense of authenticity and an insider's grasp on the pressing issues of the day (Washington Post)

Liz Carlyle is an MI5 agent with the traditional thriller-heroine mix of dysfunctional personal life and steely ambition (Daily Telegraph)

Rich with authentic details from Rimington's own life as director general of MI5, this is a must-read for fans of contemporary spy fiction (Publishers Weekly)

Rimington is a fine storyteller who creates instantly believable characters living in an extraordinary world (Bella)

Liz Carlyle remains one of the most interesting characters in the male-dominated world of the spy thriller (Daily Express)

Book Description

The next instalment of the Liz Carlyle series: a pacy, intelligent espionage thriller from the woman with true insider knowledge

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Mice Guy TOP 100 REVIEWER on 3 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
Close Call, Stella Rimington, Bloomsbury, 2014, 344p.

This is an excellent story about intelligence operations, featuring the author's recurring character of Liz Carlyle and her regular supporting cast. This is not an action thriller, as such, but more of a structured intelligence-gathering operation, more of a drama-documentary than a spy thriller. However, it is still thrilling, and there is action aplenty, but in a quieter way than in a superspy story. Regular readers of Stella Rimington's novels will find it up to, if not above, her usual standards.

The story begins with a tip-off by a CIA informant in the Yemen about clandestine arms shipments, which have a link to a British middle-man. This leads to the surveillance of a meeting in Paris, which brings an old turncoat friend back from a couple of novels ago, and into Martin Seurat's custody. A network is slowly uncovered through the hard work of intelligence gathering and investigation that draws together people smugglers from Dagestan to drug dealers in Manchester, British born-recruits to terrorism, and a plot to stage a terrorist attack on home soil. The British, French and American security agencies - with many recurring characters from earlier novels - slowly work their way along the chain of connections until the plot is uncovered and the players exposed; until, about two-thirds of the way in, things, as they tend to do, start to go wrong, and bodies start to stack up, some of which are of people who are close to Liz Carlisle...

This is not Bond or Bourne, but it is its own more `real' world, especially as current headlines are only just catching up with the subject of the plot.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jim J-R on 9 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised to find this is the eighth Liz Carlyle novel by real life MI5 head Stella Rimington, who lends a strong sense of reality to proceedings that other authors miss in an attempt to write a thrilling story. I thought this was a really good book that tells a strong, authentic tale, and is probably the best in the series.

The characters in the series clearly grow from book to book, rather than stay the same throughout the series as is the case with some long-running characters, and this adds a sense of realism to their lives. The main character does come across a little too perfect though - everyone seems to love her and there’s not a hint that she’s anything but perfect. There are some good character moments in the book however and it takes things places I really wasn’t expecting, which was good.

As usual, the plot isn’t incredibly action heavy and is quite tied to the concept of a procedural security service story. There’s a lot going on though, and we follow the characters as they learn more about a terrorist threat - unlike some books, we’re not presented with the enemy’s point of view, so we get the surprise as we travel through the narrative alongside. It’s a really interesting look at how terrorism is countered, probably far more than we realise, and there’s nothing here that I can’t honestly believe possible in the real world.

I read the book in just two days (aided by some long train journeys) and it’s kept me really entertained throughout. Definitely one of the strongest in a good series, and I hope I can look forward to more to come.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Julia Flyte TOP 100 REVIEWER on 7 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is Stella Rimington's eighth novel featuring the clever and resourceful MI5 intelligence officer Liz Carlyle. While many of the characters have made appearances in her previous books, it can still be enjoyed as a standalone novel. It's a steadily paced story which holds your interest. There isn't a huge amount of suspense but on the other hand it feels much more credible than most books in this genre.

Liz Carlyle is assigned responsibility to monitor under-the-counter arms supplies to jihadi extremists. When she receives intelligence via the CIA that a European arms dealer is liasing with a British citizen, it marks the start of an investigation that will involve a planned terrorist attack on English soil.

Stella Rimington is the former head of MI5 and she understands the workings of an investigation. This is her great strength as a writer – the way she shows how MI5 piece together disparate pieces of information and slowly build a case while never jumping ahead of what the evidence tells them. While her books are not slow moving, she doesn’t prioritise frenetic pace over authenticity. For example, sometimes promising trails go cold or sources are lost and the investigation needs to start over. The result is that you feel like you’re reading a much more realistic story.

Rimington's weakness as an author is character development, but I thought this book is much stronger in that regard than many of her others have been. A character is introduced from Liz Carlyle’s past and he’s an interesting and complex addition. Also, something significant and tragic happens to a familiar character and I thought that the way she writes that was both moving and appropriate.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've absolutely LOVED reading Stella Rimington's Liz Carlyle series. I've been absolutely fascinated to see the inside face of MI5. You see news items about terrorism around the world but these books lay out clearly where the threats come from, whom they are instigated by and why, how they are dealt with and all the little interconnections that build up. It's fascinating and it made me research ISIS and Arab Spring which I didn't really comprehend before but feel I understand a little better now. I especially love the character of Peggy Kinsolving (great name by the way!) and wish I had her job! :)

I got into these books because book 7 was free on Kindle. It was so enjoyable that I then bought book 6, then book 5, then book 4...etc. Lol. I missed book 3 because it had some negative write-ups and bought book 2, but then felt I HAD to read book 3 and found it to be just as engaging and thrilling as all the other books! Note to self - don't believe other people's negative comments, try it out and then judge for yourself! The only other problem I have is that Book 1 isn't on Kindle! Boo! Hiss! I need the larger font on Kindle these days so PLEASE Amazon, can you add this one to Kindle too?

I've read the whole series this week and was thrilled to discover Book 8, which I've now nearly completed. I've enjoyed researching the background and looking at maps of Syria and the Yemen to get a better feel for the stories. Likewise I looked at photo's of the chapel in St. Paul's Cathedral whilst reading about Michael Fane's funeral, so that I could picture the people standing there and taking part. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful author's books and hope she writes many more! Brilliant stuff!
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