Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Author: Simon Kernick
Genre: Suspense/Mystery
Type: ARC ebook via NetGalley
First Published: September 2012
First Line: "I only heard the phone because the back door was open."

SynopsisTom Mahon is living the typical suburban life. He's married with two young children, a nice house and a job that pays the bills. One day he receives a phone call from an old friend, Jack Calley, whom he hasn't spoken to in 4 years. During the brief and frantic phone call Jack begs for Tom's help.  Before Tom can figure out why Jack is so upset Tom hears what sounds like Jack being murdered on the other end of the phone. 

The last thing Tom hears his friend say is the beginning of Tom's home address. Fearing that his friend's murderers are on their way to harm him, Tom decides to take his children to safety.  Only moments after Tom and the kids leave the house a car arrives at Tom's house and two unknown men race into the house.

With no idea why these men are after him, Tom leaves the kids with a family member and races to the University where his wife works to make sure that she is safe.   Unfortunately soon after arriving at her workplace he learns that his wife is missing and he stumbles upon an unidentified body. 

When Tom is seen leaving the scene with blood on him Tom not only has to worry about the attacker lurking around the University but the police, namely National Crime Squad detective Mike Bolt, who now suspects Tom of killing the unknown victim at the university.  Now it's up to Tom to piece together why his life has suddenly been wrapped up in a seemingly unending conspiracy.

My Thoughts:  Relentless. There has never been a more aptly named book because the action and suspense never let up.  This pace helped me to totally get engrossed in this book right from the beginning.  The story is told from two viewpoints -- Mike Bolt from the National Crime Squad and Tom Mahon, the poor schmuck who has suddenly been thrown into this whirlwind of a conspiracy that has upended his entire life in a matter of hours.  

My favourite part of the book was definitely the pace.  I have the attention span of a lethargic gnat so I do not like lulls in a suspense book.  The pace has to be high with lots of twists to keep this reader interested.  "Relentless" is one of the fastest paced books that I've read in a long time and yet it was easy to keep up with the storyline.  There are a lot of shifting loyalties and many hidden secrets that come out as Tom delves deeper and deeper into the conspiracy and those twists kept the momentum high.

Now, while this is a high energy story don't expect this to be a character-driven read.  The main focus is on providing non-stop action/suspense/intrigue.  While the characters are interesting there isn't a lot of page time given to exploring the characters in any real depth and, in this instance, I'm ok with that.  I was happy to be on the edge of my seat and read a book that would just sweep me away.

While I did enjoy this very escapist-type read I will admit that you have to suspend reality to enjoy it.  All this craziness happens within a couple of days to poor unsuspecting Tom.  Possible?  God, I hope not.  Either I have to believe that poor Tom has some really bad mojo or I'll have to just go with it and enjoy the book for what it is.  A good escapist read that manages to keep the suspense and action at such a high level throughout the book that I ended up not minding if it was totally plausible.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

NOTE: My sincere thanks to Simon Kernick, Simon and Schuster Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with this complimentary e-book copy for my honest review.

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