The Wreckage

by Michael Robotham (Sphere) R236.00 ISBN: 978-1-84744-221-5

In his seventh fiction production, Michael Robotham reacquaints us with Vincent Ruiz, a worn, imperfect but likeable retired London police detective, and Joe O’Laughlin, a perceptive psychologist. 
He introduces us to cast of other characters that ultimately collide after being launched into the story by a number of separate incidences. 
We have Ruiz in London, robbed by a young confidence artist and her traumatized soldier boyfriend; a journalist in Baghdad investigating a series of bank robberies; a UN auditor delving into Iraq reconstruction funding; and the wife of a missing London banker.
This ignites the story that follows Baghdad reconstruction funding all the way up the chain to source, pulling in bankers, state agencies, terrorists, criminals and other interesting characters along the way. 
Robotham constructs the novel much like an expert patch-work quilt maker. He starts by developing rich individual characters, settings and experiences. As the story progresses, he weaves the various components together. In a skilful manner, Robotham spends just the right amount of time on each instalment, leaving the reader disappointed that they have to move on, but looking forward to returning to each storyline. 
A great read that will keep you looking forward to picking up the book and jumping back into the action. 

Patrick Duff

I like Robotham's writing style. He understands the value of short sentences, lots of dialogue and beautiful white space on the right hand side of the page. And he understands that this suits the genre of political thriller writing. 
I would have found it difficult to be critical of this novel after meeting the author less than a month ago. He was a lovely, inspiring man, and I was grateful that his novel was really good. 
Written in present tense, based on true stories from Iraq and London, and cleverly woven together, you won't regret reading this. 
Robotham opens the book by alternating stories of retired detective, Vincent Ruiz chasing a thief, journalist, Luca Tarracini investigating robberies in Iraq, and Elizabeth North searching for her missing banker husband. 
How do they fit together? Read the book and find out. 

Amanda Patterson

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Book Review - Three Seconds

by Roslund and Hellström (Quercus)  R189.00  ISBN: 978-1-84916-151-0 

When selecting this book, two things jump out as possible risks to a good read. One, a novel that has been co-authored can sometimes result in a stumbling story. Two, Scandinavian books translated to English are often infused with a grey undertone that is not to everyone’s liking. 

However, the authors have managed to pull together a gripping, well-paced seamless story that only has one or two gloomy skies. In doing so, this book is elevated from being a book enjoyed by a niche-market reader, to a global best-seller, on a par with the first of Steig Larsson’s works. 

The story is based around the growing drug trade in Sweden and a long-term police informer’s challenges to infiltrate the inner ranks of the Polish mafia. In doing so, he also needs to ensure the continued support from the politically-driven state and police institutions. Interests are not always aligned. The book also deals with his internal strife of having to lie to his beloved family to ensure their safety. 

The novel starts a little haltingly, introducing you to the different players in the story. Once the reader passes these first few chapters they’re pulled into an excellent read, that has one silently admiring and rooting for our protagonist right until the very last page. 

Patrick Duff 

Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.