KEEP CALM by Mike Binder


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An American ex-cop is suckered into a plot to overthrow the British prime minister in this debut thriller by the director/writer.

Adam Tatum has lost his job after taking part in a politically motivated—and illegal—union scheme. He rebounds by landing a corporate job with the help of his English father-in-law. Selected to travel to the U.K. as part of a high-level business deal, he discovers he's been used as patsy when the deal turns out to be a cover for a plot to take over the British government. Tatum comes under suspicion and goes on the run. The competently handled plotting moves on parallel tracks between Adam’s travails and the investigation of Davina Steel, the savvy young British agent who begins to realize Adam is not the culprit he's assumed to be. But the book is unpleasant, using mayhem directed toward women as a plot device without according their suffering any weight. Adam is framed for beating up a call girl, and though his manipulators make the charges go away, there’s not a word about the fate of the girl. Davina can’t simply be threatened to stop investigating the power broker she suspects is guilty, she has to be tied to the bed in her parents’ home and digitally raped. It’s not just women who get a raw deal, either. This is the sort of book where as soon as someone exhibits bravery or selflessness, you know he’s dead. The author even stoops to shooting a few dogs to toughen up a scene. It adds up to nearly 400 pages of bad things happening to people you haven’t been made to care about.

It’s one thing for thrills to come cheap, but they needn't be so unimaginative or so lacking in finesse.

Pub Date: Feb. 2nd, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-62779-347-6
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2015


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