Caine’s debut glows with charm
GEOFFREY MANSELL DEADLY GAME
(Hodder & Stoughton £20, 336 pp)
TO WRITE your first novel at the age of 90 is no small feat, but it did not deter movie legend Michael Caine, and the result is hugely entertaining.
The story of a metal box crammed with radioactive uranium-235 at a dump in Stepney, East London, has all the charm of many of Caine’s screen roles — think The Ipcress File and The Italian Job.
The metal box disappears and the hero, maverick DCI Harry Taylor — ex-Army and London born and bred, who leads his own idiosyncratic team from the Met — is asked to find it. But the security services are also searching.
There are two suspects: one an aristocratic art dealer, the other an oligarch. The action does not flag for a moment as Taylor races to find the uranium and halt a catastrophe. Told with Caine’s trademark ironic humour, it’s an old-fashioned delight.
THE WOLF by Samuel Bjork
(Bantam £18.99, 432 pp) VETERAN Norwegian detective Holger Munch is investigating the discovery of two boys found dead in a field not far from Oslo. One boy is completely naked, the other is only partially clothed, and both had been abducted.
There is also a haunting parallel. Eight years earlier two boys had been found in identical circumstances, but in neighbouring Sweden.
Munch and his team have no clues, but he turns to a 21-year-old trainee at the police academy, who he learns has extraordinary powers to see things that others don’t.
Her name is Mia Kruger, and it is she who makes this superb story very special indeed. Genuinely gripping and with a wonderful heroine, it is sensational.
by Patricia Cornwell
(Sphere £22, 432 pp)
CHIEF medical examiner Dr Kay Scarpetta has appeared in 26 bestsellers since she made her debut in Cornwell’s Postmortem in 1990, but this latest case is one of her most striking.
Two dreadfully mutilated bodies are found deep in the woods in Virginia, U.S., near the entrance to an abandoned gold mine — and a huge footprint is discovered nearby. Could it mean that both were killed by the legendary Bigfoot?
No it can’t, for Scarpetta rapidly establishes that both were, in fact, killed by a human with an appetite for savagery. Things turn even more serious when it is revealed that a terrorist group is determined to undermine the state.
Add the reappearance of an old nemesis, whom Scarpetta believed was dead, and you have an edge-of-the-seat mystery, packed with twists.