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Sunday 15 May 2016

‘The End Game’ by Raymond Khoury

Published by Orion,
17 March 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-4091-4383-3

The clue, I suppose, was in the title.

I frequently come to a series part-way through – but it’s not often that my first acquaintance with an author and character set I haven’t previously encountered begins at the end. It becomes plain at an early stage of The End Game that FBI agent Sean O’Reilly’s pursuit of the notorious Corrigan and his cohorts has already gone through several volumes, and that the chase has become increasingly personal as it emerges how much Corrigan’s nefarious activities have impacted on Reilly’s own life and family.

The trend continues here. It’s not much of a spoiler to reveal that Reilly’s best pal becomes a victim; and Reilly himself is rapidly in danger of losing everything he holds dear, including his life, when Corrigan gets him in his sights.

Fortunately Khoury is sufficiently accomplished at the art of thriller writing for the hints and reminders about their previous clashes to form an integral and essential part of the ongoing story, rather than merely teasing. The plot rattles along at a high old pace, with only an occasional slow-down to fill in some background on a character or situation. Reilly finds himself battling his colleagues as well as the villains, and at first it’s hard to know who he can trust. And the escalation in the last few pages almost made me lose my faith in the world political system, if I had any left to lose.

Several different viewpoints enable the reader to see what’s going on even when Reilly isn’t part of the action. Agent Annie Deutsch and Reilly’s novelist partner Tess pick up some of the narrative, and would both be worthy of books of their own; they’re feisty, well drawn and rounded, and do their own share of saving the day. I especially liked Reilly’s stepdaughter Kim, addicted to social media and as rebellious as the next fifteen-year-old, but plucky in her own way and not afraid to show it.

My other favourites were arch-cyber-geeks Kurt and Gigi, whose passion for the world of superhero comic books gives them a keen sense of right and wrong as well as the skills to ensure the bad guys don’t get it all their own way on the cyber front.

If you’re a fan of fast-moving thrillers with plenty of technical stuff and more than a smidgen of violence, I can recommend this book – and probably the others in the series too, if they live up to this grand finale.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Raymond Khoury is the Sunday Times bestselling author of six thrillers, starting with his debut novel, The Last Templar.Raymond came to writing thrillers from a career in screenwriting, which includes the BAFTA award winning BBC series Spooks (aka MI:5 in the US) and Waking The Dead. Raymond's thrillers are based on big themes that interest him such as international politics and conspiracies, fact vs faith, why we age and die, what do we really know about reincarnation, about mind control. He explores these themes in depth, with heavy emphasis on research, and often combines a historical angle to his stories. The bulk of his stories are set in the present day, interspersed with chapters that take place in the distant past. As Booklist puts it, "Khoury's thrillers engage the reader's mind, even as they move at a breakneck pace. Readers who like their thrillers to have a solid intellectual component will enjoy Khoury's books very much. Given the high quality of each of his novels, it seems fair to say that he may be around for a while."

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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