In Ekemar’s (The Lost Identity Causalities, 2014, etc.) second thriller in a planned four-book series, Matthias Callaghan returns to London, where he takes on the identity of his late father.
In this latest installment, the author regales readers with multiple plots, cons, identities, and possible outcomes. His protagonist, Callaghan, is back with yet another transplanted face—this time, his dead dad’s. Ostensibly, Callaghan is dead himself, as far as anyone else knows; however, since he and his father so closely resembled each other, he finds it convenient (and sometimes necessary) to switch personas, depending on whom he’s dealing with. He soon finds that he must deal with dogged policemen, gangsters, and even the re-emergence of his ex-wife. Ekemar uses much of this second book to further develop Callaghan as a character—a Jekyll-and-Hyde figure who’s sometimes charming and other times a complete sociopath. Readers will be jolted when the affable Callaghan’s evil persona periodically emerges: “How could I get Rathbone killed without getting myself involved?” This is multilayered writing at its best, as plot tendrils reach in all directions, and at its center is Callaghan himself—a victim of mistaken identity, named after the biblical disciple who replaced Judas, who morphs into a kind of avenging angel. What’s most intriguing about him is that however despicable he becomes, readers will still empathize with him. This is due partly to Ekemar’s skillful writing and partly because Callaghan’s fall began long ago, when he was the victim of a brutal attack. It also doesn’t hurt that the people he takes down are often, though not always, more despicable than he is. Unlike in the first book, which could stand alone, only one of Callaghan’s new plotlines here comes to fruition; most of what happens is used to set up events in future installments. This novel, however, depends heavily on what came before, which makes reading the first part of the Callaghan Tetralogy a prerequisite. That said, it’s a must for those who enjoyed the previous volume.
This well-written thriller’s complex plotting and characterization make for a fine read.