Background: I bought this book because it was 99p, and it featured Istanbul as one of the locations, and so I took it with me to Turkey on my recent holiday. The woman behind the counter – rightly – observed that the cover made it look like the Da Vinci Code, which we guessed wasn’t an accident, but now I realise that should probably have been a clue.
The book’s a thriller, but the ingredients aren’t really very thrilling, to be honest: an ex-thief being pressured to do ‘one last job’, an FBI agent trying to prove her worth, FBI bosses who won’t be convinced about the agent’s hunches or ability… you get the general idea.
Do I sound dismissive? Probably, and that’s because, even for 99p, this book isn’t really very good. The central premise is moderately interesting (though probably much more so if you’re a numismatist), but the writing’s really rather poor, so perhaps the resemblance to Dan Brown’s waste of trees isn’t a coincidence. The low quality of the writing really started to bite for me around page 84, where two characters are talking in a graveyard, though oddly enough we’re told that one of them “stared down at the floor as he spoke”. I think he means ground – in fact he definitely does, and he knows they’re outdoors, because on page 85, he tells us that one of the character’s “black brogues [sank] into the grass’s soft pile”. It’s a decent enough comparison, that grass is like carpet, but the use of the word ‘grass’s’ is horribly clumsy, and really should have been caught before the book went to print. And that’s on two pages of a book that runs to 549 pages, which is why, like the aforementioned other novel, I kept reading, and re-writing it in my head as I went to see how it could have been done. Which is not a good thing.
Also, the ‘twist’ at the end is easy to guess (I did so on page 238, so when it came on page 482, imagine my smug boredom), so the drama of the ‘reveal’ is almost non-existent, as is that of the epilogue.
According to the author biography, James Twining’s working on another novel featuring the same protagonist, and I wish him well with it, but I certainly won’t be buying it, because I really can’t recommend this book, even as a spot of light reading.