Published by Pulcheria Press,
19 October 2021.
Mélisende des Pittones has spent most of her career as a special forces intelligence officer in the French army but, in the wake of a tragedy in her personal life, she resigned and now works for the powerful, autonomous European Investigation and Regulation Services (EIRS). This is a job that Mel is peculiarly suited for, as well as her fighting and tactical skills, she is the daughter of a French landowner and an English ex-model, and is fluent in French, English and several other languages.
The story opens in Rome, where Mel and her colleague, Andreas Holzmann, are on a mission to meet an informant about an international theft of armaments. Their mission stalls when their informant is murdered before he can pass on his information and, in the aftermath, Andreas is attacked and seriously injured. Mel is also attacked but she manages to defeat her assailants and, despite the obstructive behaviour of an arrogant and chauvinistic Italian police officer, she apprehends one of the attackers, which gives the EIRS a tenuous lead into who is behind the weapons theft.
Two more of Mel’s colleagues join her to continue the investigation: Jeff McCracken and Joanna Evans, who have both moved from the Metropolitan Police to join the EIRS. Mel is particularly pleased to be with Jeff, with whom she is in a relationship, although at times she finds it hard to balance the professional necessity to take calculated risks with the instinct to keep her lover safe. Before meeting Jeff, Mel had been remarkably unfortunate and ill-advised in her two serious love affairs: her first lover had betrayed her and then offered her serious physical violence; the second had been murdered just before their wedding and it soon became evident that he had tried to use her for his own greed and corrupt ambition. Mel’s relationship with Jeff started badly, as he was the officer in charge of investigating her fiancé’s murder and had treated her with suspicion, coloured by a working-class policeman’s contempt for a well-born, privileged young woman. However, when Mel and Jeff were forced to work together as part of the EIRS, they learned to respect each other and their relationship developed from there. Mel is aware that Jeff has his own demons in his background, but she feels sure that he is an honourable and caring man. As Mel and Jeff continue their investigation, the violence escalates, and a booby-trap bomb nearly kills them both. The explosion injures Jeff, and Mel has to lead her depleted team to continue an investigation that becomes progressively more dangerous as it takes them to some of the most savage and unpredictable territories of the world, and seems to be increasingly personal, as if Mel herself was the target.
Double Pursuit is the second in the series featuring Mel des Pittones and
her colleagues in the EIRS, although it works well as a stand-alone book, with
the backstory skilfully woven in. It is a fast-paced, tense novel with an intricate
plot and fascinating details of military techniques and special operations. Mel
and her colleagues are fallible but likeable protagonists, who come from an
interesting range of backgrounds, and all of them develop throughout the story.
Double Pursuit is a fast-moving, exciting thriller, which I thoroughly
Reviewer: Carol Westron
Alison Morton Even before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. Brought up by a feminist mother and an ex-military father, it never occurred to her that women couldn’t serve their country in the armed forces. Everybody in her family had done time in uniform and in theatre – regular and reserve Army, RAF, WRNS, WRAF – all over the globe. So busy in her day job, Alison joined the Territorial Army in a special communications regiment and left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things no civilian would ever know or see. Or that she can talk about, even now…
But something else fuels her writing… Fascinated by the mosaics at Ampurias (Spain), at their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation she started wondering what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women…
Now, she writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines:
Carol Westron is a successful author and a Creative Writing teacher. Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times. Her first book The Terminal Velocity of Cats was published in 2013. Since then, she has since written 5 further mysteries. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.
To read a review of Carol latest book This Game of Ghosts
click on the title.