Review: Chris Ewan – Long Time Lost

longtimelost300It’s a mark of a good writer when they produce something a bit different with each book. Chris Ewan’s latest novel, Long Time Lost, is a thrilling read that takes you from the Isle of Man to mainland Europe via Weston-super-Mare and Lake Windermere.

Nick Miller has created a team who relocates at-risk individuals across Europe. He’s an expert in this field because he himself has had to acquire a new identify after his family was killed. He’s developed a complex system where each of the protected individuals have to check-in at the same time every week. Kate Sutherland is hiding as part of a witness protection programme in order to give evidence against Connor Lane’s brother. Connor is determined to ensure the case never comes to trial but Miller’s interference in the hitman’s plans mean that the whole team are now under threat.

The action in Long Time Lost is fast-paced from the off. Kate shows herself more than capable of defending herself and it’s nice to see a female character who’s a victim but proactive in her defence. Her chemistry with Miller is perhaps inevitable but it does take unexpected turns and Ewan never veers into cliché. I enjoyed the broad sweep of the book after a raft of claustrophobic novels that I’ve been reading recently.

This is only the second book that I’ve read by Chris Ewan and I clearly need to read more. I was supposed to be working today but the whole point of books is to make it impossible to put them down. Chris Ewan certainly succeeded with this one.

Review: Lee Child – Personal

PersonalI’m a big Lee Child fan. His books might be similar in style but I like the fact you know what to expect when you open a Jack Reacher novel. That said, some of the books are better than others which is hardly surprising in a long running series that totals nineteen novels. I picked up his latest paperback, Personal, one afternoon and read it in a day. It’s the mixture of accessible storytelling and fast pacing that makes his books so unputdownable. And I think, with this latest book, he’s back on top form.

Someone takes a long-range shot of the French president. International security services identify only four hit men in the world with the necessary skills to have carried out the attempted assassination. The US suspect is an old enemy of Jack Reacher’s and he is given the assignment of tracking the man down who is believed to have made his way to London. But protected by an Essex gang, the hit man creates a web of violent protection to prevent his whereabouts being discovered.

This isn’t the first Reacher to have been set in the UK. The Hard Way ended in the Norfolk countryside but the best Reacher books have been the ones set resolutely within the US heartlands. However, in this instance, I thought Personal’s London and Essex setting perfect for the plot. Connecting the narrative to the US is done through Reacher’s assistant, Casey, who unlike other CIA operatives has a raft of private neuroses that she keeps at bay through medication.

The plot is classic Lee Child and the execution is as professional as we have come to expect from him.  All his existing fans will, I’m sure, love it.

Thanks to Transworld for my review copy.