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Parker, Michael - 'The Devil's Trinity'
Hardback: 224 pages (May 2008) Publisher: Robert Hale Ltd ISBN: 0709085648

This is the fifth novel by Michael Parker, a former member of the Merchant Navy and the RAF. Its very topical storyline does have plenty of potential and in places is almost gripping. Overall, though, the writing style is rather disappointing and this lets the whole thing down dramatically.

Harry Marsham, or Marsh to his friends, is an oceanographer based in The Bahamas. The first time he escapes death by the skin of his teeth is when his boat is run over by another, much larger, one in mysterious circumstances. His business partner is killed in the accident and Marsh is astonished to discover that the people on the larger boat try to kill him too when he attempts to climb aboard.

After discovering that a certain local, respectable, businessman is not at all that he seems, Marsh eventually manages to return to shore. There, he is questioned by members of the CIA, who are looking into the recent disappearance of three nuclear bombs. It is clear that Marsh's former business partner knew more than he was letting on, so Marsh promises to do what he can to help the investigation. A short time later he is being followed, then threatened and finally dragged into the murky world of international terrorism. He is forced, under the threat of the death of kidnapped loved-ones, to plant the missing bombs deep in the ocean and, as he does so, he helplessly watches what could be the start of the end of life as he knows it.

The main problem with this book is that the writing style strips all of the excitement out of it. In too many places there is far too much detail. For example, we don't need to know the precise ins and outs of how the submersible works or which dials Marsh turns to switch the lights on. My head became so full of unnecessary descriptive words that I couldn't actually picture what was going on - which is, surely, one of the pleasures of reading?

Only at the very end, when Marsh is trapped in the submersible at the bottom of the ocean, do things start to improve. But even this small build-up of tension is completely ruined by the lack-lustre finale between the CIA and the terrorists.

I am deeply disappointed by this book. The idea is fabulous but the execution is nowhere near good enough.

Amanda Gillies, Scotland
February 2009

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

last updated 15/02/2009 10:24