An exclusive off-shore island paradise on a scorching summer's day, its residents unaware that they are just hours from annihilation… This is Terror's Reach, home to feuding billionaire businessmen Valentin Nasenko and Robert Felton, and target of a gang for whom murder is a mere sideshow, a light amusement in their deadly mission of those next few hours.
Tom Bale produced what was surely one of the thrillers of the year in 2009 with Skin and Bones, and now he returns with, literally, all guns blazing in this tight, claustrophobic tale of menace and depravity.
Tension builds early on as we meet Joe Clayton, ex-CID officer, now a loaner and a drifter, his past a closed book as he lives an anonymous new existence as bodyguard to Nasenko's wife and children. His only links to his past he keeps in a metal strong-box, otherwise he has nothing to lose as, after first foiling a kidnap attempt of Nasenko's family on a trip away from Terror's Reach, he slips back on to the island and faces confirmation that the kidnap attempt was designed to cover a much more deadly agenda.
A compelling and dark cast list populates each side of the divide in this story, many of whom are far too convincing for those of a delicate disposition. The prose is lean and fast-moving; the events accelerate in the most believable of trajectories, and the fitting denouement is impressive and cunningly crafted. In Joe Clayton, Tom Bale has created an engaging protagonist and I hope we see more of him in the future.
Terror's Reach matches and, indeed, surpasses Skin and Bones and whilst it may be a cliché to use the term 'page-turner', Tom Bale's latest book is just that, and he proves beyond doubt that he is definitely one to watch.
With thanks to ScotKris for the review.