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Ewan, Chris - 'Safe House'
Hardback: 448 pages (Aug. 2012) Publisher: Faber and Faber ISBN: 0571290639

Rob Hale wakes up in hospital after a terrifying accident on his motorbike. He is badly concussed and bruised all over and as he comes to, he asks the nursing staff what happened to the young lady who was riding as his pillion passenger and they are completely mystified as to whom he is talking about. The police come to interview him and he again asks about his passenger and they again say that the young lady "Lena" that Rob describes does not, as far as they are aware, exist. The accident happened on the Isle of Man and Rob is an experienced T.T. motorcycle rider and as the island is a fairly small community the police as individuals are known to him and he is amazed by their response.

Eventually Rob is discharged from hospital and his father, who runs an old people's home, comes to collect him. He advises Rob that he has employed a private detective called Rebecca Lewis who has come from London for the job of checking out Rob's accident as well as that of his sister who apparently died in mysterious circumstances not long before. So Rob and Rebecca check out some of the locations that the two accidents occurred at and investigate the clues that they uncover with some surprising results.

Rob is puzzled why Rebecca has come all the way from London to the Isle Of Man on this job and why she is doing so for apparently no fee. The possibilities of a romantic liaison between them is explored and her reasons for her altruistic mode of work is analysed. The plot rushes on to its very surprising conclusion.

The author has written The Good Thief's Guide To... series of comedy/crime novels, but this is the first stand-alone thriller by him. The imaginative characterisation and the background detail of the T.T. (Tourist Trophy) racing was very well thought out. I enjoyed it immensely and once I started it couldn't put it down which is always a good sign. I hope he writes many more stories of this high quality and I'll look out for them. Well recommended.

Terry Halligan, England
November 2012

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 25/11/2012 12:03