Simon Kernick Ultimatum is his latest crime fiction novel (ISBN 978-0-09-957906-9) featuring DS Tina Boyd and yet another fast-paced, hard to put down, cleverly plotted novels.

Like some other modern writers wanting to create a multi-layered, hopefully suspenseful plot, Kernick introduces a series of seemingly unrelated happenings in the first few pages. This can be confusing and lead to early reader fatigue. What is different about Simon Kernick’s novels is that he weaves in a number of clues –some of them red herrings-to link the events together to engage the reader. Descriptive convolution is kept to a minimum which lets the narrative steam ahead. Characterisation is spare but effective, and as usual is his books; I wouldn’t really want any of his characters to be my best friend.

At the outset the reader follows an Asian victim of blackmail forced to plant a bomb to mimic a terrorist attack. Tina Boyd sees him run over as he flees the scene. Her predilection for disobeying rules means she has been sidelined and will not be part of this big operation but then request from a high profile prisoner eventually propels her into the investigation. The various threads of story run along creating more and more suspense and the ending still surprises. What is also a surprise is that Tina Boyd is still on the force!!!

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