Saturday, 6 July 2013

Ultimatum by Simon Kernick

I liked Simon Kernick's The Business of Dying where a cop turns a killer for hire. His argument being that his victims are anyway scum to be removed. When he realises that he was tricked into killing somebody who was probably not the scum, and there are things that even he would call immoral, he tries to set right and bring to justice, even if it his own, the perpetrators. I liked the moral aspect of the story. I read one more book featuring the rogue cop but I don't remember anything about it. 

Ultimatum starts with a bang. A literal bang! A bomb is detonated near Victoria Station in London, a muslim man was forced to do the delivery, making it look like the work of some Islamic fundamentalists. We do know from the beginning, that something else is happening. The police receive an Ultimatum, there would be more terror strikes that day. They learn that at eight p.m. a bomb would be detonated in a prime location in London. This would make the ruling government inefficient creating a vaccum in the political space which a new political party will fill. Where is the bomb going to be detonated? Will the police find the location and stop the criminals? A prisoner claims that if he moved to a safe house with security, he can reveal who is behind this carnage and maybe even stop them before the final target. 

 This book is continuation of an early novel called Siege which I hadn't read. There are a few mentions of the Siege, it looks like some of the characters are same. But then it works quite well as a standalone. Tina Boyd is an interesting character, has a little temptation when she sees a wad of currency in the home of a possible weapons supplier where she goes to look for evidence. She feels that if she pockets some money nobody is going to notice. But then resists the temptation because once you cross the line, you really don't know where to stop. It is these details that make the characters interesting to me. It is a fast paced thriller with twists and turns. The Business of Dying is still my favourite among the three Simon Kernick's books I have read.

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