Present Danger, Stella Rimington, Quercus, 2010 (2009), 326pp.
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, though there are many thriller elements, including commando raids and gun battles, but that is kept for the finale, and is not the bread and butter of the story. That is concerned with the detail of intelligence gathering and surveillance, which slowly builds up a picture that reveals what the baddies are up to, allowing for a response to be formulated. Being a thriller however, the baddies do throw a spanner in the works, aided by the occasional lapse of judgement by some of the MI6 agents. The basic plot involves a faction of former IRA members who have been taken over (and in) by a wealthy American who has thrown himself into the struggle - unfortunately a couple of years too late - and is now running a criminal organisation in Belfast. His operations slowly come to the attention of MI5, who have taken over intelligence gathering from the former RUC, and events start to escalate as he realises that MI5 are closing in. Throw in an international arms dealer, the French secret service, and a captured MI5 agent, and we are quickly in thriller territory; though moving at the measured pace of the stories in this series, with plenty of time for Liz's private life to be interwoven into the action.