Elliot & Thompson | 2018 (25 January) | 448p | Review copy | Buy the book
A ceremony is taking place in Trafalgar Square in London to honour the involvement of British soldiers in various Middle and Near Eastern wars. The President of the United States is in attendance, as is his predecessor, as well as the Prime Minister and other senior politicians. Joe Dempsey is arguably Britain’s most effective military intelligence officer. It’s his job to escort the VIPs to their seats, keeping both eyes not on his charges but on everyone else. But there is nothing he can do to prevent an assassin from shooting the former President and a man who is arguably the next Prime Minister in waiting. But who was it who shot dead one of Dempsey’s officers who stood in the way of the assassin and his targets? It certainly wasn’t the assassin. So could it be that something much more deadly than a solo shooter is at work?
As Dempsey goes undercover to investigate the violence that shocked the world on that day, others become dangerously involved. Sarah Truman is a CNN reporter who was in Trafalgar Square and learned something that she shouldn’t. Michael Devlin, a highly successful Belfast-born barrister, likewise finds himself caught up in a conspiracy that threatens to grow more entangled and lethal by the hour. But who is pulling the strings?
Killer Intent is one of those glorious things – a political conspiracy thriller that grabs the reader from its first short opening chapter and hangs on to them until the very last page. This is an extremely exciting book! It is packed full of action, a fair bit of violence, and its cat and mouse chase rushes us through the pages, carrying us across Britain and deep into its secrets.
We follow several threads and constantly move between them at an exhilarating pace. The action takes place over a very short period of time, no more than a few days, and, as the characters fight exhaustion (not to mention the side-effects of frequent punches), we barely have time to draw breath. You have to keep turning those pages. I’m not going to reveal anything more about the plot or its locations because you’ll enjoy working it out yourself. But I loved this mingling of reporters, lawyers, politicians, elite soldiers, criminals, assassins and innocent bystanders – everyone chases their own theories, runs their own race until it all comes together in a brilliant finale.
One of the many reasons why I enjoyed Killer Intent so much was its treatment of some of the characters. There are villains here aplenty, but some of the characters are much more complicated than that, revealing little bits about their past and desires, doubting themselves at times. Michael Devlin is particularly intriguing and it’s to his thread that I had the most emotional response.
The author Tony Kent, a successful barrister himself, has brought a great deal of insight (and brain) to his thriller and the result is a fine debut novel. I’m so pleased to hear that it’s the first in a series! Excellent thrillers such as Killer Intent are thin on the ground. It’s great news indeed that we’re to have more of them.