Book review: Assassin by Duncan Falconer

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When you have been an undercover intelligence operative with Britain’s Special Forces, you know a thing or two about the world’s most dangerous hotspots.

And Duncan Falconer’s thrilling series of books featuring the daredevil elite officer John Stratton have experience and class written all over them.

For those who haven’t yet come under the spell of the terrifying and authentic world of special operations conjured up by Falconer, now is the time to get started. Assassin, an intriguing, full-on action drama, sees the former Special Boat Service and Intelligence Company veteran on top form.

It’s a terrific adventure story that takes us on a mystery ride from the frontline war in Afghanistan and the perilous borderlands with Pakistan to the offices of Whitehall and the bustling streets of Manhattan in New York.

John Stratton is the archetypal action man who is more at home in combat fatigues and with an assault rifle in his hand than he is lounging around a pub back at home.

He’s currently on routine duties in Afghanistan and longing to get stuck into an operation with ‘some real meat on it.’ After leading a brutal attack on a Taliban complex in the Khorasan Valley, he discovers a code book which proves of great interest to two accompanying CIA agents.

Back home in London, Stratton gets an unexpected call from old friend and ex-SBS commander Berry Chandos who fears he is being hunted by an assassin. Through his contacts, Chandos has discovered that a nuclear dirty bomb has gone missing in Pakistan.

Chandos wants Stratton to help him find the unknown and ruthless enemy because if he doesn’t, thousands of people could lose their lives. The only problem is that if he takes on the task, Stratton’s life will also be in danger.

When Chandos disappears a few days later, Stratton finds himself drawn into a desperate race to find his old partner before the killer targets him and before the bomb can fall into the wrong hands.

Alone and unsupported, Stratton must begin a heart-pounding search to stop the bomb being exploded and to discover if his friend is still alive...

Assassin is a fast-paced, straight-talking, no-frills thriller with more twists and turns than the Khyber Pass, and a tough-nut, cynical hero who packs the same charisma and ‘killer’ punch as Muhammad Ali.

Roll on the next round...

(Sphere, paperback, £9.99)

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