The third installment of Norton’s (The Theft of a Dukedom, 2012, etc.) thriller series about Detective Inspector Becky Castle combines a nail-biting terrorist plot with steamy bedroom scenes.
Wanted criminal Abdullah Razzac Fakesh has London in his sights once again, and nothing—not even a Brighton vacation or a friend’s wedding—can stop Castle from tracking him down. A series of nuclear-bomb scares involving bright red suitcases at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and the Canary Wharf docks leads Castle to wonder at Fakesh’s boldness. As she hypothesizes about the clues he has left behind (including the name “Victoria”), she uncovers a sinister plot that threatens Parliament, central London and her beloved husband, Bob, home on leave from duty with his parachute regiment in Iraq. Castle sports a shotgun wound on her chest from a previous altercation with would-be bombers, and she puts on a tough show; she brags that she “[likes] nothing better than to crush and mash a man’s knuckles” with a handshake. She also exhibits an insatiable lust for her husband. However, sex and crime aren’t the only things on Castle’s mind: She must also make sense of unsavory truths from Bob’s past and figure out what’s going on with her friend and colleague, U.K. Special Air Service Major Geoffrey Jackson, who’s about to marry a woman he may not love. Norton skillfully drives the story along with fast-moving police sequences and snappy dialogue, but she also slows it down with frequent romantic interludes. Although these languorous moments are combustible in a different way, they sometimes threaten to derail the chase; they spring up often enough to please crossover fans of romantic fiction and chick lit, but they may annoy readers who prefer lone-wolf thrillers with fewer distractions. Still, Norton’s sharp pacing and attention to each moment ensure that readers will race alongside Castle until the story’s tense, high-stakes conclusion.
An engaging thriller that takes Norton’s terrorism-fueled series to suspenseful new heights.