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Wednesday 9 January 2019

‘Intervention: The King Pin’ by James Hanford

Published by Matador,
28 November 2018.
ISBN 978-1-788032-90-2 (PB)

MI5, MI6, the Foreign Office, the police and even the Slovenian security services manage to cooperate with one another in this action-packed tale of serious crime linked with terrorist activity. As there are two more books planned for this series, The King Pin sets the scene and leaves plenty to be revealed in the next two parts.

In this episode the action starts in Slovenia where Rob Krane, an out of work banker and medal-winning expert in unarmed combat, is taking what he hopes will be an adventure holiday.  Rob certainly gets his wish.  Whilst enjoying a late breakfast in a sunny square Rob is lucky to escape with his life when armed men arrive to kidnap Burak Demir and his daughter Anja. Burak was/is the head of an extensive organization that incorporates both legitimate and criminal components.  The shooting is the result of a play for power by his sidekicks.

The kidnappers kill everyone within sight and Rob only escapes by hiding in one of the getaway cars.  Several hours and many miles later he finds himself in a remote, wooded area where the men are holding Burak and his daughter in caves.  Rob overhears their plans to force Burak to talk by torturing ten-year old Anja.  He immediately contacts his friend Michael in the Metropolitan Police.  Michael’s boss contacts the security services and with the help of Laura Harding from MI5 and their local agents in Slovenia, Burak and Anja are freed and spirited back to England where Burak is a wanted man.

Burak agrees to cooperate with the English authorities but remains absolutely determined that, because his organization is so large, he will only drip feed them a little bit of information at a time. This way he insists the criminals will be apprehended and those employed in legitimate work will not lose their jobs.  This is a clever move. 

The first information Burak gives them leads to several nail-biting encounters around the country including raiding business premises that are acting as fronts for money laundering and terrorist activities and protecting European health ministers who are converging on a hotel for a conference on the supply of essential medicines.  Rob’s prowess in unarmed combat comes in handy on more than one occasion as he helps Laura and her colleagues from MI5. The body count is high. Policemen, security personal, and criminals all absorb bullets at an alarming rate.

One unusual aspect of this complicated story is that Burak agrees to hand over all his wealth and legitimate businesses to Rob who promptly sets up a management company – Zouches – to oversee them all.  At the end of The King Pin we learn that Burak is due to take ownership of a luxury yacht that Rob will now own. This sets up the likelihood that we will see Rob, Laura and friends sailing round the Mediterranean, the Aegean, the Black and the Ionian Seas in their quests to discover and shut down yet more of Burak’s extensive empire.  Will romance blossom between Ron and Laura in these idyllic locations?

There is clearly much more to be learnt about Burak who seems extremely adept at getting the British security services and the Foreign Office to do what he wants. Is Burak genuinely helping or is he simply getting the security services and Rob’s banking skills to get his dirty work done for him? Can he really be as ignorant of the terrorist links to his businesses as he claims? We are told that Burak shows his true colours in the third book of the Intervention series, so you and I will have to read the next two books to find out which side he’s really on.  I’m sure it will be well worth it.
Reviewer Angela Crowther

James Hanford was born in London, England. His active imagination provided a multitude of ideas over the years for use to write an action adventure book – something James had long dreamed of doing. However, it was not until the Christmas and New Year holiday of 2011 and into 2012 that he had sufficient substance and material to complete his first novel. The intervention of the books’ hero, Rob Krane, in various matters therefore quickly became the main title of the series.Fired-up with enthusiasm, James started writing during whatever spare time he could find outside of his family responsibilities and day job. James still lives in London now with his wife and children. He works in central London, appreciating the history and multi-cultural diversity of the great city.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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