Die Alone by Simon Kernick
|Die Alone by Simon Kernick|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Fast pace, twisty and very compelling. A good read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: November 2019|
|External links: Author's website|
Ray Mason is in prison awaiting trial for murder and he's in the vulnerable prisoner unit: as a cop he's something of a target, but the unit is not as secure as the inmates would have hoped and Mason is injured in a riot. On his way to hospital he's broken free by armed men and an offer is made to him. He's to assassinate the man who is likely to become the country's next prime minister and he'll then be given a new identity so that he can start afresh abroad. His captors say that they're MI6, but Mason has his doubts. His choices are limited though and he has personal reasons to believe that it would be better if Alastair Sheridan was dead.
On the surface Sheridan has it all: he's wealthy, good looking, charismatic and has a beautiful wife and family. British politics are chaotic and in an uncertain world he has a good chance of becoming prime minister. There's a darker side to him, though: he has a taste for young women and he prefers that they end up dead. Few people know what he really is and they're a mixture of fellow travellers or people over whom he has a strong hold. The exceptions are few and one of them is Ray Mason.
The assassination doesn't go as Mason would have hoped: on the run there is only one person he can trust absolutely and that's Tina Boyd - another ex-cop who has her own scores to settle with Sheridan. Mason and Boyd have history.
I've seen books which are described as 'fast-paced': few really live up to the billing, but Die Alone certainly does. There's hardly a moment when you can relax and take a breath. I read it over an indulgent day, determined that there were few circumstances in which I was going to put it down until I found out what happened. The characters are good. You begin by wondering about Mason - he admits that he's guilty at a very early stage - but you're gradually won around, not least because there's not an awful lot of characters in the story who aren't guilty.
It was a cracker of a read. Normally I'm repelled by descriptions of violence, but although it's there Simon Kernick is sensitive about the details he gives and what might have been an unpleasant read turned out well. He's an author I'll look out for in future and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a review copy available to Bookbag.
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