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Friday 18 November 2016

‘The Searcher’ by Chris Morgan Jones

Published by Mantle,
2 June 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-2307-6982-3

Ike Hammer is a successful and wealthy man.  He has run the London-based investigative agency, Ikertu, for some years.  It currently employs nearly 200 people, but one member of staff, Ben Webster, no longer works there - he has disappeared.  Returning to his offices one day Ike finds 15 police officers with a warrant to search the office for documents and computer equipment – he is arrested on suspicion of breaching the Computer Misuse Act 1990,

Ike is well-off and doesn’t need the business, but he had fought to create this company and would fight to save it.  He feels that Ben is responsible for the problems he and the company now face and he travels to Georgia, where he believes that Ben is investigating the death of a journalist, hoping to either return with Ben or prove his own innocence.  His search begins in Tblisi, where he is immediately involved in a riot, beaten up and arrested.  He is an experienced and confident operator, but at 58, he has been out of active involvement in the field for many years and he finds himself thrown into a volatile unpredictable environment, unable to identify friend from enemy and involving people who have helped him in dangerous situations.  To complicate the situation further he has left the UK without his medication for depression and wonders how this will affect him.  He has constantly to make decisions about who he can trust and how he should deal with the criminals, police, secret service agents to get the information he needs to find Ben.  He sets out with a driver to go from Tblisi, via Gori and the Black Sea coast to Diklo in the Caucasus mountains, where he begins to come close to finding his quarry.  In this sparse rural landscape, he has to rely on his judgement of local people if he is to achieve his aims.

For this novel Chris Morgan Jones has chosen to change his main character from Ben Webster, the lead in the other two novels in the series, to Ike Hammer, previously a relatively minor character.  Hammer is a tough nut, and he needs to be as he deals with depression, loss, love, any number of close calls, beatings and general injuries, but somehow survives.

Tense, exciting, confusing, informative, violent, at times annoying, this is fast-moving, nerve-wracking, road trip through Georgia.
Reviewer:  Jo Hesslewood
Other books by the author:  An Agent of Deceit, The Jackal’s Share

Chris Morgan Jones For eleven years Chris Morgan Jones worked at the world's largest business intelligence agency. He has advised Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, New York banks, London hedge funds and African mining companies. An Agent of Deceit was his first novel

Jo Hesslewood.  Crime fiction has been my favourite reading material since as a teenager I first spotted Agatha Christie on the library bookshelves.  For twenty-five years the commute to and from London provided plenty of reading time.  I am fortunate to live in Cambridge, where my local crime fiction book club, Crimecrackers, meets at Heffers Bookshop .  I enjoy attending crime fiction events and currently organise events for the Margery Allingham Society.

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