Book: Cold Monday by Terence Strong

Very good British spy thriller

Terence Strong
Cold Monday
Pocket Books, 2004
ISBN: 0 7434 2992 3
UKP 6.99
472 pages

In Cold Monday, Edward Coltrane is a former British commando (ex-SAS, to be exact). He fought in Northern Ireland and in Bosnia. In Bosnia his wife, Astrid, a native and a translator for the UN, was murdered by Bosnian Serbs. Since his retirement, Edward has spent much of his savings trying to track down her killers without much success. Then someone from the British government offers him a contract to kill two of them. The first assassination goes smoothly, but before he can begin the preparations for the second one, two former army colleagues come to find him. They're both women from Essex, Bex and Jude. They want him to meet a British Member of the European Parliament, Sir Marcus Whitby, who has been working on a report about corruption in the administration of the European Union. Naturally, it turns out that there's a connection between the contracted assassinations and the corruption. And things move on from there.

Overall, the book is very good. There are a few bits when Sir Marcus lectures about the structure of the EU and how corrupt it has become that are longer than necessary. But that's about the only negative thing I have to say about the book. Reading it, I thought I had guessed something important before Mr Strong intended me to guess it, but later I decided that I was wrong, and then I thought I might have been right, and then.... It's a hallmark of a good thriller that it keeps the reader guessing.

Mr Strong is British and, while some of his books are available in the US, it seems that Cold Monday isn't. That's not terribly surprising to me; it's a pretty English book. We get MEPs, the SAS, curries, kebab houses, and details of the organization of the EU. American publishers probably think that it would find a limited market in the US, and they're probably right. But I clicked over to to buy it and it was well worth the extra shipping. I've read plenty of American thrillers and it was an interesting change to read one with an English setting and atmosphere. An American reader should be able to figure out most everything necessary from context and Google the few things that remained unclear.

Posted: Fri - January 21, 2005 at 09:00   Main   Category: