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Wednesday 9 September 2015

‘Stealing People’ by Robert Wilson

Published by Orion,
18 June 2015.  ISBN: 978-1-4091-4783-1 (HB)
978-1-4091-4820-3 (PB).  978-1-4091-4818-0 (Ebook)

The children of six hugely rich and influential families across the globe are kidnapped in the space of 36 hours.  Why?  Demands arrive from the kidnappers asking for 'expenses' of £25 million dollars for each child, with threats of torture for the victims if the demands aren't complied with immediately.  The children are videoed being maltreated.  Is this simply for monetary gain, or is there a far more elaborate scenario being orchestrated? 

At the same time, Charlie Boxer, kidnap consultant, is facing a number of personal crises.  Then he is roped in to the investigation into the disappearance of the kidnap victims and charged with finding them. In a more orthodox fashion, so is DI Mercy Danquah, his former partner, an officer with the Met. 

Robert Wilson has written a tautly complex political thriller which deals with global events  so bang up to the minute that it might have been finished only yesterday.  Greed, corruption, MI5, the CIA, astronomical fortunes, are stirred in with the reasons behind the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with global terrorism, with the appalling use of torture and extraordinary rendition, by what we think as the Good Guys. 

As the book progresses, it becomes clear that the Good Guys are as bad if not worse than the Bad Guys.  It reads with such veracity that I could hardly bear to continue reading about the horrors which lurk in the backgrounds of our so-called civilisation, and yet it was impossible to put down. This is not only a thrilling read, but a necessary one. 
Reviewer: Susan Moody

Robert Wilson was born 1957. His father was an Air Force officer, so they moved around from base to base. When he was six his father was posted to France, which gave him the bug for foreign travel. He was then sent away to school in England.  It was at this school, that he had the first inkling that he would like to be a writer.  He spent three years reading English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. And left Oxford with a degree and a love of American literature and went to Greece to run archaeological tours on the island of Crete for a year. Back in London he took a job in a ship broking company specialising in gas transportation, and learnt about international business. Three years later he headed for Portugal and lived in Sintra, just outside Lisbon. He wrote travel stories about his experiences in Africa. He then moved to the Alentejo, close to the Spanish border, and found his ideal house in the middle of nowhere, and started writing novels.

Susan Moody was born and brought up in Oxford.  She has published over 30 crime and suspense novels, including the Penny Wanawake series and the Cassandra Swann bridge series.  She is a past Chairman of the British Crime Writers' Association, a member of the Detection Club, a past Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tasmania and a past President of the International Association of Crime Writers.  She divides her time between south-west France and south-east Kent.   Nominated for the CWA short story award.  Nominated for the RNA's award. 

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