Published by Matador,
28 April 2021.
Lethal Response continues the swashbuckling adventures of ex-special forces Army Major, Paul Stafford, and his right-hand man Captain Ryan Peters whom we met in Trashed, the first book of the series. With his erstwhile connections to the security forces an open secret, Major Stafford is now on attachment to Hampshire Police’s Major Crime Team as a senior investigating officer.
He has much to investigate. In beautiful, affluent, sleepy Hampshire, it seems that although Stafford and his merry gang put a stop to the manufacturing side of the drug trade, widespread drug dealing still continues thanks to the criminal old boys’ network. Most of the other misdemeanours e.g. murdering anyone who gets in the way, dealing in and promoting prostitution, extortion and protection rackets, money laundering, illegal organ transplant deals, and almost anything else illegal one could think of remain rife.
Stafford fights to avenge his friends and comrades who have been deliberately targeted and killed by an international array of baddies. However, he is continually sidetracked as the controlling boss man endeavors to mislead him and to prevent him from uncovering who is behind the various rackets. Stafford has his suspicions, but life is not made any easier by rogue solicitor Howard Neilson.
The beautiful DC Nicole Martin – promoted to DS Martin as the story proceeds, young PC Harry Whitley, DCI Talbot, the head of Hampshire’s special branch and the mysterious Colonel who seems to be able to fix anything, all form part of the back-up team. DI Masterson pops up toward the end of the book. Like other fictional DI’s he seems slow on the uptake but likes the limelight.
Response is an action-packed, boys’ own kind of story packed
with baddies, not all of whom are foreign. The good guys take vast amounts of
punishment, come up smiling and have a sixth sense about what is likely to
happen next. There is an enormous amount of violence, including some aimed at
women. There is more than a hint of future romance for Stafford, though from
the way he carries on I’m not sure when he’s going to find time for it.
Reviewer: Angela Crowther
Norman Townsend was born and raised in Oxford. He has previously worked as a photographer, salesman, labourer, warehouse manager and milkman. He moved to Andover thirty years ago, starting his career in the waste industry, before retiring in 2009. Trashed was his debut novel.