Review: Thomas Mogford – Hollow Mountain

TMThomas Mogford is an author that I’ve been meaning to try for a while but other priorities have got in the way. However, carrying out my resolve to move my reading to other parts of Europe, I picked up Hollow Mountain as I was attracted to its Gibraltar location. I’m glad I did because Mogford is a seriously good writer. He manages to combine tense plotting with excellent prose and has produced a book a cut above the ordinary crime thriller. I wish I’d tried his books earlier.

Lawyer Spike Sanguinetti is in Genoa looking for his missing ex-girlfriend who telephones him to say she doesn’t want to be found and that the lives of his family are at risk. Spike is called back to Gibraltar when his partner becomes the victim of a hit and run accident which may have been a result of him being deliberately targeted. Spike picks up his partner’s outstanding cases which include a missing husband and a salvage company looking for silver bullion in a wreck in the Straits. Both cases lead him into violent confrontation with those looking to protect their financial interests.

Gibraltar is a place that I know little about so it was fascinating to read the descriptions of the baking hot landscape with its lacklustre buildings and slightly bored tourists. The perennial conflict with the Spanish border is constantly referred to and adds to both the tension in the book and the sense of a place brought to life. The landscape plays an important role in the narrative and we get glimpses not only of the tourist Gibraltar populated with its Barbary apes but also of the local community struggling to make a decent life in sub-standard housing.

Hollow Mountain is fairly shocking in terms of its depictions of violence but the author has done well to strike a balance between making the brutality graphic without seeming gratuitous. Although I’ve started reading the series with book three, I’ll definitely look out for the earlier novels, given the quality of the prose. Mogford really is an excellent writer and reminds me a little of another talented author, Adrian McKinty.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for my review copy.



17 thoughts on “Review: Thomas Mogford – Hollow Mountain

  1. I’ve never heard of this author before, but it’s always interesting finding a new crime novel location – opens up the world a bit more to me! Damn Sarah, you just keep adding to my stacks! Plus you get through so many books…how do you do it??!


  2. Margot Kinberg

    Sarah – I’ve had my eye on Mogford too! I remember thinking the series might be interesting when the first book came out but I’ve not yet tried it. Thanks for the nudge to look for this series. Seems I’ve been missing out on something good…


  3. It’s great when you find a new author to enthuse over. I may pass due to the size of the stacks, but if the page count on Amazon is accurate – 240, it’s a temptation.


  4. Based on what I see at the author’s website and your description, the books sound a bit too thrillerish for me. But… on the other hand, good writing and a unique setting is very appealing. I will put this on the maybe list and keep a lookout for them at book sales.


  5. Kathy D.

    Help! I’m in duality here. I like to investigate new locations, Gibraltar being one I’ve never encountered before, but the stacks here are growling and the library reserves aren’t decreasing. Plus the violence
    may be too much, but I’ll put it on the TBR mountain.


  6. Sarah, I read about the Barbary monkeys on the Rock of Gibraltar in Paul Gallico’s “Scruffy” who by the way is a notoriously mischievous monkey. The story is set during the British-Spanish war over occupation of the promontory. This wasn’t crime fiction but it’d be interesting to read a mystery set in Gibraltar.


    1. Thanks for the tip-off about the Gallico story, Prashant. I don’t know much about Gibraltar too and this book has definitely piqued my interest.


  7. Pingback: Thomas Mogford- Hollow Mountain | Raven Crime Reads

  8. Pingback: My Top Five Reads of 2014 | crimepieces

  9. Pingback: Review: Thomas Mogford – Sleeping Dogs | crimepieces

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