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SANCTION by William Hunter Kirkus Star


by William Hunter

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5470-5300-1
Publisher: CreateSpace

In Hunter’s debut espionage tale, the assassination of a Cambridge University professor reveals conspiracies involving terrorist bombings.

Sean Garrett’s instructions are to retrieve intelligence from distinguished academic Mohammad Ahmad regarding a King’s Cross Station bombing 14 months earlier. But he’s also contemplating revenge against Ahmad, as he believes that he’s linked to the attack, which killed Sean’s grandfather and put his sister in a coma. Quite unexpectedly, an assassin gets to the professor first. Sean witnesses the murder, which soon makes him a target of the elusive hit man. Both MI6 and the CIA want to find the assassin, as Ahmad was a shared asset, and they begin by analyzing closed-captioned TV footage, which seems to implicate Sean as the killer. MI6’s Banastre Montjoy, Ahmad’s original handler, is on the case, and soon others enter the investigation, officially or unofficially, including police from Scotland Yard. Meanwhile, the terrorists responsible for the King’s Cross Station attack and additional bombings are looking to tie off any loose ends, and they have a mole in British Intelligence that could help them do so. Hunter’s tale is deliciously complex, but it’s surprisingly easy to follow. Despite the influx of characters, for example, it’s generally easy to keep them all straight along with all of their respective agencies. The twists come in the form of shocking alliances, and the final-act explanation is an impressive one that manages to connect multiple events, botched parts and all. The prose throughout is clear and concise despite the characters’ use of coded messages and cockney slang (the latter of which is defined as soon as characters utter it). There are some moments of violence, although it’s never excessive, and the ending scene, all the way to the closing sentence, is extraordinary.

An explosive thriller full of engaging dialogue and action.