Published by Point Blank,
14 January 2021.
ISBN 978-1-78607-779-0 (HB)
Red Corona is a debut novel by Tim Glister. It is an intelligence thriller set in 1961 at the height of the Cold War, ‘the Bay of pigs’ is over ‘the Space Race’ is on. Glister gives us three main protagonists their storylines begin to interconnect and finally come together as the plot plays out.
The main protagonist, British secret agent Richard Knox is suspended, his boss, James Holland is in a coma, but who put him there? Knox is under suspicion because he has no alibi for the night this happened. Knox is not from the British public school and Oxbridge system that prevails in MI5. He is from the East End, shades of Michael Caine’s Carter? and as most good hero’s, he has a troubled past.
The bodies of two Italian men
are found in Deptford. The acting director of MI5 Gordon Manning wants to know
who killed them, “it bears all the marks of a KGB hit squad.” Knox wants to
know why Manning has chosen him, after all, he has been suspended. It seems MI5
are stretched because London is hosting an inaugural conference of the
Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development. The leaders of nineteen
of the most powerful nations are attending. Knox suspects that there is a mole high up in
MI5, Manning tells Knox, “I know you think I’m working for the Russians.” Is
this a double bluff?
Soviet scientist Irina Valera
lives in a closed city called Povenets B, once a gulag, in Karelia near the
Finnish border. She makes a discovery that could give Russia the upper hand in
the ‘Space Race’.
Abey Bennet is a filing clerk at the American Embassy, she is determined to become a CIA operative. Abbey wants to prove herself, she is a likeable character, and a good foil to Knox.
Russia, the UK and the Americans
are in the race to gain an essential breakthrough in space communications. When
the power plant at Povenets B explodes. Irina Valera takes her chance to escape
and to defect from the USSR.
The race is on the KGB, MI5,
MI6 and the CIA are all determined to have Irena for themselves. Knox and Abey
join forces, but someone else is involved. Knox need to find the mole in MI5.
In the tradition of the spy novel,
the plot begins with a slow burn. Short chapters add to the pace as it picks up.
Characterisation is good, there are twists and turns and a satisfactory ending.
Tim Glister has clearly researched the wolds of intelligence and the space
race. I recommend this debut novel and look forward to the next. I feel that
the author will get better and better as he continues to write.
Reviewer: Sue Lord
Sue Lord originally studied Fine Art and Art History, her MA is in Creative Writing. She now, reviews, teaches, mentors and script doctors. She lives in central London and Somerset. Her favourite pastime is gardening.