on 8 January 2013
William F. Brown's Thursday at Noon begins with two men - Landau and Yussuf - infiltrating an abandoned RAF base in Egypt in 1962. The base is awash with activity and while Yussuf waits by the perimeter fence, Landau returns briefly but has to quickly go back, wanting to take pictures of what is happening inside. Despite the Second World War having ended in 1945, there is a German presence at this base but what are they up to?
The novel soon switches to washed up CIA agent Richard Thomson who is often found in the nearest bar. While drinking one night he is approached by Yussuf who is trying to get some photos to a contact within the CIA. He offers to sell the pictures to Thomson who declines, not wanting to damage his career any further. Thomson is later horrified to find he is being linked to the murder of Yussuf who has been beheaded close to the hotel where Thomson is staying. Thomson has to shake off the attentions of Detective Haasen Saleh and get to the bottom of the secret at the RAF base and how an alliance between former Nazis and a Moslem Brotherhood may lead to devastation for Israel. The book's title is a deadline for when the carnage will ultimately begin and it is a frantic race against time for Thomson.
Brown's novel is a tense and fascinating journey. Thomson is a victim of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and finds himself in serious danger. The police suspect him of murder, he's at risk of being deported, hunted and even killed. Throw in a German Rocket scientist, his beautiful daughter and a reluctant joining of forces between Thomson and Saleh and you are left with an exciting thriller filled with action and intrigue.
Thursday at Noon is a well-written and action-packed thriller from the start. Despite being set in 1962 its events are not far removed from the world we live in today. Certainly this kind of scenario is not beyond imagination. This is a thriller well worth a look.
on 20 April 2015
Fast-moving and well-plotted, the setting in Nasser's Egypt in 1962 makes a change from the more usual 'Reds under the bed' CIA scenario. Maybe a bit too much action and bodies, and the nationalities are stereotyped (brutish methodical Germans; lazy and incompetent Egyptians - but also some very naive and useless Americans for a change!). Some very relevant parallels to todays unrest - Muslim Brotherhood, totally fanatical and destructive, plotting to overthrow whatever government tries to establish some order. This is after Suez, the British have gone and Nasser is in control (though not as securely as usually assumed) and the Americans are trying to play along (I assume they were not as incompetent as shown here, but you never know!). Overall, kept me up late several nights trying to guess the next twist.
on 24 May 2013
This is unusual in that the opening pages are probably the worst written, so bad I nearly stopped reading before the end of the chapter. The object of course is to present an exciting opening but it is too full of repetition, particularly about Yussuf's fear and his greed and becomes wearisome. Luckily I did persevere because it is not a bad tale, not five star and barely four but I think the characters of Thomson and Saleh save it from being totally mundane. The action is barely believable but all in all it passed a pleasant few hours and I have read much worse.