KENT FIGHTS FOR MY ATTENTION IN NO WAY TO DIE

Standard

The title for John Le Carre’s 1974 spy novel “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy..” comes from an old nursery rhyme, that was used for counting, fortune telling or more commonly in recent years for picking the misfortunate person in a game of “Tag”. The English version went Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief. While American’s went with, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief, Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief.. The famous English nursery rhyme “Rub-a-Dub-Dub” also references three job occupations, The Butcher, The Baker and The Candlestick Maker. But this month’s book review can go one better, especially when it comes to glamourizing the authors past and present occupation – Boxer, Barrister, Thriller Writer. Whichever marketing genius thought of putting that on the front cover, certainly earned their bonus that month. Meanwhile the book itself is No Way To Die by Tony Kent and published by Elliot & Thompson ( www.eandtbooks.com  ) on the 7th April.

When traces of a radioactive material are found with a body in Key West, numerous federal agencies descend on the scene, but it soon becomes clear that a domestic terrorist organisation is intent on bringing the US government to its knees. The threat hits close to home for Agent Joe Dempsey, when he discovers a personal connecvtion to the group. When Joe and his partner, former Secret Service agent Eden Grace’s plan to track down the device falls apart, he is forced to turn to an unlikely ally, an old enemy he thought he had buried in the past. With time running out can Dempsey and Grace stop a madman from unleashing horrifying destruction across the United States.

You got to hand it to Kent, this book is bang up to date, coming out a year after the failed insurrection at the Capitol building, along with the subtle refences to the easing of Covid restriction  America will always been seen as a vast field of dreams where anything can come true, whilst also being the ‘Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’, but domestic terrorism is an ever-present danger, and going forward will always provide fuel for the thriller writers creative fire.

I personally found it an ok read but having not read any of Tony Kent’s other books (something I plan to correct), I had no real yard stick to base it against. It came to me as a stand-alone, when Dempsey is the main character in several of Kent’s previous books. I was slightly put off by the size of it, at over 500 pages in length, because it’s promoted on the cover as “a pulsating read”, but even with the aid of a time stamp on each chapter. I didn’t get any sense of urgency and even failed to notice the time stamp in the first three chapters. Also, the number of other character interactions I had to go through before Joe and Grace came on the scene, literally one hundred forty pages in, stopped me from really getting a feel for them.

Tony Kent

This is English author, practising criminal barrister and former boxer, Tony Kent’s ( www.tonykent.net ) fourth book. His others are Killer Intent (2017), Marked for Death (2019) and Power Play (2020). Seen as a leader in his field, Tony has prosecuted and defended in some of the most serious trials during his twenty years at the Criminal Bar. His practice has brought him into close professional contact Britain’s GCHQ, the Security Service and the Ministry of Defence. While also working with international law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. He’s also regularly  appears on numerous TV programmes as a criminal justice expert, including Meet, Marry, Murder; My Lover, My Killer and Kill Thy Neighbour. He currently lives outside London with his wife, son, and dog.

With the holiday season eight to ten weeks away, here’s an option to pass a long-haul flight or to relax with while lounging by the pool. So fight your way to the cash till in your local book shop or box clever and order online and pop this into your suitcase in advance or onto your kindle.

Reviewed by Adrian Murphy

This book review is part of a Random Things Blog Tour. To see what the other reviewers thought of it, visit their blogs listed below. Then, if you get a copy, comeback, and tell us what you thought. We’d really appreciate the feedback.

O’DONOVAN DELIVERS PACE BUT NEEDS A PRAYER TO REPEAT THE ORIGINALITY OF PRIEST

Standard

Dublin DeadI’ve always steered clear of Irish crime fiction. I don’t know why really. Maybe it’s because I have the plots of a number of books inside me, that I don’t want to see already written about when I open up some Sunday paper hack’s latest attempt to fill the remaining hours of their days and weekends, when they’re not sleeping, eating, drinking or just catching up with the family.

I think it’s because when put up against the likes of Morse, Reacher, Bosch etc; they don’t have the same romanticism. I live in and visit the settings on a regular if not daily basis and find it hard to picture them in the same way as a Midwest American two horse town or the cobbled bicycle congested lanes of Oxford.

Back in February my partner gave me a copy of Gerard O’Donovan’s latest book “Dublin Dead” as a Valentines Day present. I think I gave her a voucher for M&S… Hmm, true romantics both of us… Anyway I let the book sit on my bedside locker as a reminder that it was on my TBR (To Be Read) list. Then as I ran out the door last week to my sisters wedding in Italy without anything to read, the love of my life suggested rather subtlety that I hadn’t read “… That book I gave you for Valentines”.  So into the bag it went, displacing Anita Notaro’s latest from a round trip to Lake Garda.

gerard O'Donovan

This is O’Donovan’s second book after “Priest”, both feature the Dublin DI Mike Mulcahy and Sunday paper journalist Siobhan Fallon. In “Dublin Dead” both are a year on from their encounter with a deranged priest who via back story we discover impaled Fallon on the papal cross in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Now that’s what I call original and made me sit up and take note. Anyway in this outing Fallon is working through her Post Traumatic Stress on a dead end suicide story which then leads to a missing persons, while Mulcahy is following up the murder of a Dublin gangster in Spain and the link to the largest haul of drugs off the cork coast and the involvement of an internationally feared Colombian hit-man, while trying to prevent the closure of his Drug Liaison Unit by the end of the week. Soon both hero and heroine find themselves pursued and pursuers with a climactic finale in west cork.

O’Donovan’s own back story reads a little fantastically, he’s had a job in the Irish civil service, worked abroad as a barman, gherkin bottler and philosophy teacher…. Umm, if you can figure how you go from pushing paper in Dublin to pushing knobbly green veg into bottles, answers in the comments box below. I suppose teaching philosophy is similar to that of the gherkin bottler, you’re pushing knobbly shaped theories into empty vessels.

The book slams you straight into the action from the first page andThe Priest the pace is relentless to the end. The story line is topical, inspired by a recent botched drug run on a yacht off the south coast and with references to NAMA and the perilous state of the economy. Where it is disappointing is in the final confrontation, here it feels a bit limp and goes down a well worn path. For someone who had one of his lead characters crucified on a 116ft high monument over looking Dublin previously I expected a better ending and some more dramatic set pieces through out the book, but take my word for it this is well worth the read and probably even better if you start with “Priest” .

(First published  www.murphysview.blogspot.com  2012)