The latest thriller from British author Seymour (The Collaborator, 2011, etc.) isn’t the kind you’d turn to for fast action and relentless plot twists. Rather, it’s a book for those seriously into espionage who want to absorb every detail of how a spy mission is planned and carried out.
The book’s very title hints at the outcome, as a team of agents is deployed to covertly remove an Iranian bomb expert, turning the actual killing over to an operative. The mission’s two chosen leaders—grizzled veteran Joe “Foxy” Foulkes and 28-year-old police officer Danny “Badger” Baxter—are an instant mismatch; their mutual dislike and frequent clashes provide the human-interest angle. Their target, Rashid, also has a back story; his wife has a life-threatening brain tumor, and his attempts to get her an operation will make him vulnerable. The book gains momentum once Badger and Foxy get to the Iran–Iraq border and begin their “hide”—a grueling undercover slog. The suspense hits its peak as Foxy is captured and tortured—also in grisly detail—with lit cigarettes. The mission’s conclusion inevitably goes less smoothly than planned, as Seymour plays his one big action scene for all it’s worth. The book’s conclusion cleverly circles back to its prologue.
Some may be frustrated by the slow pace, as it takes more than 100 pages to even get the team selected and the operation underway, but for patient readers, Seymour’s painstaking attention to detail is a plus, as it gives the story an authentic ring and lets the reader experience the mission in real time.