Simon Kernick is a newcomer on the British thriller market, and like Simon Beckett he seems to have made a smashing debut. This is his 3rd thriller, and the publisher assures the reader, that Kernick has researched his stories thoroughly. He might have done some additional research on the art of writing, though.
His involuntary hero, Rob Fallon, a thirty-something writer, witnesses the murder of a girl-friend, and when he tells the police and leads them to the murder scene, there is neither a corpse nor any proof of murder. Consequently the police dismiss him as a slightly disturbed intellectual.
Only DS Tina Boyd believes him and tries to find out more without any help from her department. In the meantime Rob can only very narrowly escape several attacks on his life. He tells all this in first person, whereas Tina´s and other people´s actions are told by an omniscient narrator. Not a very elegant narrative structure, and it scatters to pieces, when Rob tells - in first person - how he is killed. Tina Boyd asks her former colleague and would-be lover Mike Bolt for assistance, and together they discover, to their horror, that a truck full of mustard gas (from Germany, naturally) is on its way to be exploded in London. Forces behind the scene want the stock market to collapse, so that super villain Paul Wise can harvest the results.
I wonder if Kernick knows that his second name is German and means “earthy”. So no more narrative excesses, please!