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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story about intelligence operations that predicts the present troubles in our news headlines
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...
Published 27 days ago by Mr. Mice Guy

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
A bit formulaic and clunky - a good plot though.
Published 6 days ago by Richard


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent story about intelligence operations that predicts the present troubles in our news headlines, 3 July 2014
By 
Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8) (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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Credible and well plotted, 7 July 2014
By 
Julia Flyte - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good, authentic proceedural intelligence novel, 9 July 2014
By 
J. R. Johnson-Rollings (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8) (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 18 July 2014
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8th in the series and still the new plots develop. Easier to follow than the last one despite the proof reading error half way through. The characters are believable. A good read, even while sitting in out-patients! Can highly recommend and I am looking forward to the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, well written and very interesting, 20 July 2014
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Good book, well written and very interesting. Have ordered the rest of her books and her autobiography Hope that they are as good!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is only the second book I've read by Stella ..., 21 July 2014
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This is only the second book I've read by Stella Rimmington and found I didn't want to put it down. Very enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 22 July 2014
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C. Guy "Colleen" (UK) - See all my reviews
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As usual a good read and interesting tale, very realistic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excitement awaits, 28 July 2014
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This review is from: Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8) (Hardcover)
The best book of Stella R and it was lovely to meet up again in the book with Liz very engaging for male and female readers can not wait for the next book. Excellent service pre ordered excellent service I would say join prime if you have not done so
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 July 2014
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Another gripping tale in the Liz Carlyle series
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good read., 24 July 2014
By 
Mrs. Mary E. Owen "A parents guide" (United Kingdon) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoy Stella's books her experience shows through. I got so involved, it was one of those books you don't want to put down, can't wait for her next one!
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Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8)
Close Call: A Liz Carlyle Novel (Liz Carlyle 8) by Stella Rimington (Hardcover - 3 July 2014)
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