I have a fondness for British crime authors - and Simon Kernick is one of them. He's perhaps not as well known as some of his counterparts in North America, but is worth checking out.
Relentless starts off with one of my favourite hooks - an everyday guy thrown into an unbelievable situation.
John Meron is at home with his two kids when he receives a call from his old college friend Jack, whom he hasn't seen in years. Jack is screaming for help and as John listens on in horror, he hears him being murdered in the phone. And he also screamed out one more thing - John's name and address.....
His intuition says run and John does. He grabs his kids and is driving away when he sees a black car stop at his house ....Why in the world are they after him? Why did Jack give his address? What happened to Jack?
"I saw from the clock on the whitewashed wall that it was five o'clock in the afternoon. In the space of two hours, my life - so ordinary, so mundane, so desperately missed - had been torn irreparably apart. Two hours earlier, I'd been a normal working man living a pleasant, easy life. Now...there were people after me for a reason I had no knowledge of.....What I didn't know was that this was only the beginning. Things, if you can believe it were about to get one hell of a lot worse."
The story then alternates narratives between John and the cop on the case - Detective Inspector Mike Bolt from the National Crime Squad. Bolt has faced his own demons in the past and is forced to make some tough decisions on this case.
Relentless has the feel of an action movie with loads of twists and turns that keep us on our toes throughout. The story is pure action with little character development. I did find the ending a bit of a disappointment, but the window is open for a continuation with these characters. Relentless was not the best of Kernick's books for me, but definitely provided some great entertainment reading. Fans of Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay would enjoy this author. To quote Coben "“Simon Kernick writes with his foot pressed hard on the pedal. Hang on tight!” Read an excerpt of Relentless.
You can find Kernick on Facebook and on Twitter.