Bale, Tom - 'Terror's Reach'
Joe Clayton is a former undercover police detective who now works as a bodyguard to a wealthy Russian businessman named Valentin Nasenko and his wife and children. They live on a isolated island, Terror's Reach, that is supposedly located in Chichester harbour but is actually based on Sandilands, the exclusive millionaires' hideaway island, near Poole, Dorset.
Whilst walking on the beach, Joe notices a suspicious stranger on the island which normally gets very few visitors. Later, Joe is instructed to take Valentin's wife Cassie and the two children, Jaden and Sofia away from the island as the Russian says he has a business meeting. It seems very suspicious to Joe, but the boss's instructions were to take the wife and children to an expensive jewellers and then onto a hotel. After some time Joe realises they are being followed and his Police training kicks in and driving very carefully, but very fast, he manages to out-slip the tail. Joe hides them in a boarding house, that he knows of and when they are settled, he returns to the island to check what is happening.
On his return he finds that the access road, to the island bridge closed and the man that he saw on the beach earlier, guarding it. This raises Joe's suspicions and being a strong swimmer, he realises that the only way onto the island is via the water. Arriving on the island in soaking wet clothes, but under cover of darkness he reconnoitres and discovers that a heavily armed group of burglars are holding the island residents under guard in one of the exclusive residences whilst the rest of the thieves search the other houses for valuables. Joe, attempts to summon help, but the burglars have cut the landlines and have brought a jamming device with them to cancel the signal on mobiles.
Joe comes to realise that he is the only hope that the honest residents have of out-smarting their captors. He must use all of the skills that he was taught whilst he was an undercover policeman to get the residents released. He begins to understand that the theft is much more than just that and many other factors are involved. He also sees that several people have been killed and many more could die if he doesn't do something. Joe, must undergo many nail-biting adventures, before the ultimate final episode. We learn more about who "Joe" is and his background and why he left the police and why he now works for a Russian businessman.
This was for me, a fantastic introduction to the ingenuity of the Tom Bale mystery. This is the second title that has been published under this pseudonym by author David Harrison and he seems to have continued to improve on the initial success he enjoyed with SKIN AND BONES. I hope to have the opportunity of reading his next books as I really enjoyed this very plot-driven page-turner, which started off fairly gradually and then slowly built up the momentum of an express train before its dramatic conclusion.
Read another review of TERROR'S REACH.
Terry Halligan, England