The Searcher by Christopher Morgan Jones (review)

March 20, 2016 All Reviews, Mystery 0 DNF

I received this book for free from Penguin Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Searcher by Christopher Morgan Jones (review)The Searcher by Christopher Morgan Jones
Published by Penguin Press on March 22nd 2016
Number of Pages: 336
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Source: Penguin Press
Format: Hardcover
Goodreads
Purchase: At Amazon
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An unlikely hero dives into the chaotic madness of Russia and Georgia’s deadly covert conflict, in this rapid-fire tale of corporate espionage gone awry

Christopher Morgan Jones returns to a murky world where corporate spies and government agents battle far from the public eye. Focusing on Georgia, a mountainous republic threatened by Russia to the north, Morgan Jones carries readers deep into an ancient land of chilling compromises and foolhardy valor.

Morgan Jones’s novels center on a unique London corporate espionage firm spearheaded by Ike Hammer and Ben Webster, which follows criminal money anywhere it leads: be it Moscow or Dubai, Monaco or Kazakhstan, a bureaucrat’s pockets or a politician’s bank account. While Webster was the star of the earlier novels—investigating Russian businessmen and KGB operatives in The Silent Oligarch, Persian billionaires and Tehran terrorists in The Jackal’s Share—in The Searcher the focus shifts provocatively to Hammer, making this a perfect starting point for old fans and new readers alike.

Journeying to Georgia for the funeral of a friend, a journalist who inexplicably committed suicide after publishing the exposé of a lifetime, Webster mysteriously disappears. As the country rumbles ominously with civil strife and Russian aggression, Hammer rushes to Tbilisi to track down his missing friend. Once in Georgia, Hammer is forced to confront the country’s tragic chaos: civilians bombed either by cruel Russian spies or by deceitful Georgian soldiers; violent riots instigated by amoral oligarchs or government saboteurs; double and even triple agents who play all sides against each other at once. Threatened by enemies he cannot name and “friends” he cannot trust, Hammer rushes north—into the lawless mountains bordering Russia itself—to discover the true fate of his friend and Georgia’s future.

I stopped reading this book on page 213.

 

I haven’t read anything by this author before, but once I got past the confusing first part of the book the pages sped by. The very beginning is a little confusing because the main character keeps flashing between present time, and something that happened in the past. It later turns out that past was only a few days at the most, previous to the main part of the book. But while we were jumping back and forth, it was hard to tell what was supposed to be the ‘current’ time.

I liked the characters. They were well written, and felt like real people. Complete with believable faults as well as positives. The story was interesting as well. There were a lot of twists and turns, and you don’t really know what is part of the investigation and what is incidental. Which doesn’t bother me at all really. I like that there are other things happening in mystery novels, helps set up the world the characters live in.

The reason I stopped reading the book was because I had gotten 213 pages into it and suddenly realized… there was no progression of the mystery plot. Hammer has gone to another country looking for his friend, and in all these pages he’s gotten lots of leads and clues. And then suddenly it’s like he’s back to square one again. The beginnings of what looks like it could be a romance start up, more bad guys arrive on the scene. But we still have no actual clues as to where his friend is or what’s happening.

Usually in mysteries, even long ones, by this far into the book there is some kind of progress. You can see the story winding down a bit as we get ready to find out just what happened. Get the lead up to the end of the book. But this one, felt like you were suddenly starting the book from page one again with 179 more pages of twists and intrigue to go.

I think if a few of the unneeded twists and extras earlier in the book had been left out, it might have been a cleaner clearer mystery book. But by page 213 I’d just stopped caring about if Hammer was going to find his friend or go home without him.

Since the book is now listed as only having 332 pages instead of the 392 that my copy has, it’s quite possible that the finished novel was tightened up and you won’t have the issue I ran into. I did quite like the book aside from the confusing opening, and dragged out restarting of the search. Given that the book appears to be shorter than what I received, I would recommend giving it a try. Especially if this is a genre you enjoy.

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