Dickson goes for nonstop action in his debut thriller about a British contractor cum secret agent who has been roped into a multigovernment charade to find chemical weapons lost under the Egyptian desert.
Darren Hudson, a British citizen who found a new home in one of the shadier parts of Cairo, can’t help but dream of adventure and glory when Bob Lowe, a British Secret Intelligence Service agent, approaches him about a mission on behalf of the queen. On its face, the mission seems simple enough: survey the route planned for a new pipeline between Libya and Egypt through the desert wasteland, and attempt to find an old, missing Russian chemical weapons dump that should be nearby. Using the help of local power Fathi Ramadan, Hudson finds the site where the weapons are supposed to be, but an unexpected attack in the desert lets him know that the mission won’t be as straightforward as it seemed. Hudson is dragged into a world of international intrigue, terrorist plots and a game of personal survival, as terrorists do whatever it takes to lay hands on the weapons he’s tasked with uncovering. While the story itself is timely and exciting, Dickson tries to do too much, deflating a potential winner. Hudson, the central character, isn’t very believable in his role as pseudo-spy. His initial involvement in the desert-surveying project makes enough sense, but his subsequent participation at the heart of the SIS plan to root out terrorists and save the Middle East is more than a stretch. Likewise, after closer inspection, the central yet unexplained role played by Fathi doesn’t click. But perhaps what most undermines this thriller is Dickson’s willingness to shelve sufficient description in favor of speed and action; unfortunately, the narrative pushes a little too fast for the plot to stick. Without having a clear picture of what action is taking place, the roaring sections often lead to confusion.
Almost a timely, exciting ride, but the hero’s too far out of his element.