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Monday 31 October 2016

‘An Empty Coast’ by Tony Park

Published by Pan,
8 September 2016.  
ISBN 978-1-5098-1541-8

The illegal trade in rhino horn is the eco-crime at the heart of this new novel by Tony Park who writes books set in Africa. For decades the trade in elephant tusks has been in the media but Tony Park focuses on the equally lucrative trade in rhino horn, a currency worth millions in Asia and Russia. The setting of Namibia with its tantalising wildlife and barren coastlands provides a backdrop with a difference for this crime thriller.

The main character, Sonja Kurtz, is of Germanic decent and grew up in Namibia. Sonja trained as a soldier and now works as a mercenary. The story unfolds with Sonja on a revenge mission in Vietnam where she is out to assassinate one of the ringleaders in the trade in rhino horn, a man who is responsible for the death of her husband Sam.

When Sonja receives a text from her daughter, Emma, asking for help, she rushes to Namibia to rescue her. Emma is working as a trainee on an archaeological site in Namibia's Etosha National Park where she discovers the body of an airman dating from the war in the 1980s. In fact, Emma's incomplete text was prematurely sent and she isn't in danger at all until word gets out about the discovery, then she and her colleagues are soon dragged into a struggle for survival.

Michael Allchurch is still looking for his pilot son, Gareth, whose plane went missing during the war. Allchurch is desperate to find out what happened and why his son was on an unauthorised flight. The discovery of the airman at the dig provides the missing piece of the puzzle as to where the plane might be and leads him and others on a chase to find it and a cargo people are willing to kill for.

With large-scale shoot-outs, helicopters and action-packed chases across the wild Namibian countryside, the multi-viewpoint narrative allows the reader to know the danger the main characters are going to be in and creates great tension. A good read if you want something a bit different.
Reviewer Christine Hammacott

Tony Park was born in 1964 and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has worked as a newspaper reporter in Australia and England, a government press secretary, a public relations consultant, and a freelance writer. He is also a major in the Australian Army Reserve and served six months in Afghanistan in 2002 as the public affairs officer for the Australian ground forces. He and his wife, Nicola, divide their time between their home in Sydney, and southern Africa, where they own a tent and a Series III Land Rover

Christine Hammacott lives near Southampton and runs her own design consultancy. She started her career working in publishing as a book designer and now creates covers for indie-authors. She writes page-turning fiction that deals with the psychological effects of crime. Her debut novel The Taste of Ash was published in 2015.

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