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Sharp, Alex - 'Driver: Nemesis'
Paperback: 400 pages (Aug. 2011) Publisher: Corgi ISBN: 0552163961

DRIVER: NEMESIS is a novel based on the popular computer game series, which continues this year with DRIVER SAN FRANCISCO. It acts as a prequel to the game, setting up the hero Tanner's reasons for pursuing a personal vendetta against the criminal Jericho.  

Let's face it, you're not going to pick up this book if you're in the market for a demanding Scandinavian police procedural, but it deserves to be reviewed on its own terms. And on those terms, DRIVER: NEMESIS delivers just what it promises, and does it gleefully and unapologetically. 

Jack Tanner is a cool and ruthless cop with a talent for driving - a 'wheelman'. Luckily, driving is a sure-fire ticket to acceptance in criminal circles, which makes Tanner an ideal undercover agent. In NEMESIS he is on the trail of a shadowy and violent underworld figure known as the Indian, who has rarely even been seen by the regular police. 

Tanner's personal nemesis is Jericho, the Indian's right-hand man, a cool and ruthless hitman with a talent for driving - an even match for the cop. He is described as a "psychopath with excellent middle-management skills". Tanner has to get close to Jericho in order to get to the Indian. There's a bit of a moral journey here as Tanner is pushed further and further into criminality by Jericho in his quest to win an audience with the Indian, but there's always a bit more driving in the pipeline to take his mind off the grey areas. 

The author, who is "an English thriller writer" using the pseudonym Alex Sharp, stuck pretty closely to the presumably limited brief and has crammed in driving whenever and wherever possible. We get to see every possible felonious use and abuse of a vehicle, with the exception of double parking. 

The action (which is unremitting) is set in a carefully described New Orleans, hopefully Alex Sharp got a visit as part of the deal and didn't have to rely on a Rough Guide

All in all, if you like the cover, you're probably going to like the book. In the unlikely event that you end up reading it for some other reason, relax and enjoy yourself. 

Rich Westwood, England
October 2011

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 2/10/2011 10:05