Spy thrillers are nothing if not gripping: full of agents pulling down their fedoras and pulling up their trench collars while sipping espressos in Parisian cafés, it is easy to see why. The narrative of a hard-drinking, chain-smoking womaniser negotiating the struggle between capitalist west and communist east is tried and tested and not, as book sales illuminate, one readers are tired of. As such, is there room in the genre for a faithful husband and father-of-one working for Customs and Excise?
In a word: yes. I say this because Customs Investigator James Winter, the creation of Ian Coates and chief protagonist in Eavesdrop, is free of clichés as he battles to clear his name and, more importantly, a room to prevent the lighting of a fuse that could spark a battle in the Middle East. The novelist might not be Oxbridge-educated or have been recruited by the intelligence services after being tapped on the shoulder in a college quad, as many spy novelists were. Yet his background in the electronics industry lends authenticity to a tale of industrial espionage wherein walkie-talkies lead us to peace talks.
Simple but successful, Eavesdrop is the work of a new and welcome talent.
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|Category||Mystery, Crime, Thriller|