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Woodrow, Patrick - 'First Contact'
Paperback: 432 pages (Dec. 2009) Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd ISBN: 0099478625

FIRST CONTACT is a suspense-laden thriller that will keep you on the edge of your sofa from cover to cover. The exquisite detail of Patrick Woodrow's writing style and the first-hand accuracy of his descriptions of sights and sounds in the jungle add to the originality of this novel and make it impossible to put down. You are there, lost in undergrowth, with Mark and Melanie Bridges. You can hear the birds and the insects, smell the soil after the rain, and feel real terror as you stand helpless on the river bank, unable to do anything and waiting for the lurking crocodile to attack them. Perfect.

In brief, Mark and Melanie are on holiday in Papua New Guinea. They are looking for birds of paradise and hoping to put past differences behind them. After their tour guides are violently murdered and they are forced to run for their lives, they become lost in the jungle. Near to serious dehydration and with almost all hope lost, they discover a crashed helicopter and find supplies on board that will save them. They also unearth a secret that other people want and are willing to kill them for. Soon nowhere is safe and even returning home to London proves to be extremely dangerous.

FIRST CONTACT is absolutely fabulous: well written, excellent character development, easy to read and completely absorbing. Losing yourself in the jungle at this time of year is just the thing to distract you from the snow outside your own window. I was really excited when my stab of a guess at the secret proved to be correct but was completely surprised by the unforeseen turn of events after Mark returns to the jungle to put an end to things.

This book is simply awesome. I highly recommend it.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
January 2010

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

last updated 2/01/2010 15:57