This deliciously serpentine story opens in a hotel dining room where a married woman, Olive Anderson, sits alone for supper.
Suddenly another woman arrives, sits down and announces to the waiter that she’s her wife — even though Olive is married to a man. Things get ever more bizarre from there, for Olive is kidnapped by the woman and driven away into the night.
That’s just the start of the compelling plot. Olive is not quite as she appears, and neither is her fake wife. The search for Olive is intertwined with an intriguing back story about her marriage and the death of her husband’s first wife, as well as the identity of her female abductor.
Full of the most delightful twists, where nothing and no one is exactly what they seem, this is a thriller of the highest quality that underlines how superb a storyteller Bolton has become. This is Patricia Highsmith territory — and there can be no higher praise.
This deliciously serpentine story opens in a hotel dining room where a married woman, Olive Anderson, sits alone for supper
THE YEAR OF THE LOCUST
The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes (Bantam £22, 672pp)
by Terry Hayes (Bantam £22, 672pp)
A decade ago, Hayes — the screenwriter of Mad Max 2 — published his debut, I Am Pilgrim, which became a world sensation. His second does not match its predecessor.
The story focuses on a shadowy CIA spook, Kane, who is asked to carry out covert operations in the world’s most inhospitable places. He is sent to the badlands on the borders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran to bring out a local man said to know details of an upcoming terrorist attack similar to 9/11.
The mission fails, but Kane encounters a terrifying adversary in the form of Muslim Abu al-Tundra, a terrorist with a locust tattooed on his back whom many believed to be dead, but who turns out not only to be very much alive but also determined to bring Western civilisation to its knees. So a race against time begins, with Kane trying to stop him. Packed with spycraft, it hurtles along, but eventually descends into a messy dystopian conclusion.
The Edge by David Baldacci (Macmillan £22, 432pp)
by David Baldacci (Macmillan £22, 432pp)
Travis Devine, an undercover agent for Homeland Security, took his first bow in Baldacci’s last best-seller, The 6:20 Man.
Devine is asked to investigate the death of a young woman, whose body was found on the rocks of the Maine coastline in New England. A former high-ranking analyst for the CIA, she was privy to a whole range of state secrets. Was that the reason she was killed?
Or was the reason far closer to home in the small town of Potter, where everybody seems to have secrets, including the local sheriff? Devine finds himself thrust into a maelstrom of betrayal centred on a reclusive young woman who has been traumatised by something in her past.
Written with Baldacci’s customary flair and panache, the plot leaves you rooting for Devine and the stricken young woman — no matter the odds stacked against them.