February 1st, 2017
The ninth Jon Spicer novel, Death Games, is a superb exhibition of storytelling, with tight descriptive prose and more twists than a Bill Hailey 50s dance track.
Manchester: an injured survivor from a motorway pile-up flees the scene, leaving behind evidence that a terror attack is being planned. Jon Spicer, newly trained as a Specialist Firearms Officer, has joined Manchester police’s Counter Terrorism Unit. Thrown out of his previous department and demoted to Detective Constable, he is being kept in the force only because he’ll take on the most dangerous of jobs.
Iona Khan is struggling to find respect and recognition in the male-dominated Counter Terrorism Unit. Her mind might be sharp, but many of her colleagues value physical strength above anything else. As the investigation quickly snowballs, Spicer and Khan are thrown together. The two officers must learn to trust each other – and fast.
What Chris Simms always manages to create in his books is a journey. What on the face of it might appear to be somewhat predictable never fails to transpire into being anything but and Death Games is no exception.
Furthermore his grip on his characters is as unyielding as ever. This time, however, bringing for the flawed Spicer and the highly ambitions Khan together is something of a masterstroke. A further bonus is the manner in which – due to his demotion / sideways move – Spicer is even more restricted in what he can and cannot do, meaning that his capabilities although apparent fall under even more intense scrutiny and therefore all the more susceptible to tripping him up.
The pace rips along, with the antagonists never over stepping the mark into the land of the incredible and therefore remaining “normal” whilst also making the heart beat faster, whereas the plot itself asks just the right amount of questions without ever over egging the pudding.
In short, Death Games is a worthy addition to Chris Simms’ already impressive canon and is sure to make fans of both Jon Spicer and Iona Khan extremely happy indeed.