Simon Kernick has been giving the British thriller a thorough wash-and-rinse, making it clear that American writers don’t have a monopoly on uncompromising, stripped-to-the-bone crime narratives. And Target
, Kernick’ latest contribution to the field, matches its predecessors in remorseless energy.
The Business of Dying, the first in his bestselling sequence of London-based novels, was crammed full of fresh and original touches in a tale dealing with a rogue policeman making short work of drug-dealing heavies. The six books by Kernick since then have maintained the momentum, and Target shows no sign of letting up.
Writer Rob Fallon, considerably the worse for wear, ill-advisedly visits the flat of Jenny, the girlfriend of his best friend. But before the guilt he’s feeling can really take hold, two men smash their way into the apartment, try to kill Rob and abduct the terrified Jenny. But when Rob attempts to report these events to the police, he finds himself in a markedly Hitchcockian situation; he is disbelieved on all sides. The doorman saw nothing, the apartment is undamaged, and Jenny’s father blithely claims she is vacationing in another country. Rob, however, won’t let things be, and begins investigations of his own; what is the nature of the cover-up? And will Rob find out the truth before the two men who tried to kill him finish the job?
This a different kind of thriller from those we now expect from Simon Kernick: more streamlined, slicker (in the best sense of that word) and with a machine-tooled narrative brio that will make it difficult for any reader to put down after the first chapter. Kernick’s upwards trajectory continues. --Barry Forshaw
"The pace is breakneck, the plot twists like a hooked eel... The sort of book that forces you to read so fast you stumble over the words" Evening Standard
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