1 July 2016

Review #474: The Searcher (Ben Webster #3) by Christopher Morgan Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“You could be the perfect spy. All you need is a cause.”

----John le Carré

Christopher Morgan Jones, an English author, has penned an incredibly thrilling crime fiction in his latest book, The Searcher which is the third book in the Ben Webster series. In this book, the author weaves a tale where the main hero of his stories goes missing and his intelligence firm partner faces a hell lot of troubles from the police to surrender his friend who is accused of so many felonies, and his partner must find him out before trouble comes knocking at their doorstep, and little did he knew, that he has to risk his own life to search him in the deadly mountains bordered and inhabited by Russian criminals.


An unlikely hero dives into the chaotic madness of Russia and Georgia’s deadly covert conflict, in this rapid-fire tale of corporate espionage gone awry

The acclaimed author of The Silent Oligarch and The Jackal’s Share, Christopher Morgan Jones returns to a murky world where corporate spies and government agents battle far from the public eye. Focusing on Georgia, a mountainous republic threatened by Russia to the north, Morgan Jones carries readers deep into an ancient land of chilling compromises and foolhardy valor.

Morgan Jones’s novels center on a unique London corporate espionage firm spearheaded by Ike Hammer and Ben Webster, which follows criminal money anywhere it leads: be it Moscow or Dubai, Monaco or Kazakhstan, a bureaucrat’s pockets or a politician’s bank account. While Webster was the star of the earlier novels—investigating Russian businessmen and KGB operatives in The Silent Oligarch, Persian billionaires and Tehran terrorists in The Jackal’s Share—in The Searcher the focus shifts provocatively to Hammer, making this a perfect starting point for old fans and new readers alike.

Journeying to Georgia for the funeral of a friend, a journalist who inexplicably committed suicide after publishing the exposé of a lifetime, Webster mysteriously disappears. As the country rumbles ominously with civil strife and Russian aggression, Hammer rushes to Tbilisi to track down his missing friend. Once in Georgia, Hammer is forced to confront the country’s tragic chaos: civilians bombed either by cruel Russian spies or by deceitful Georgian soldiers; violent riots instigated by amoral oligarchs or government saboteurs; double and even triple agents who play all sides against each other at once. Threatened by enemies he cannot name and “friends” he cannot trust, Hammer rushes north—into the lawless mountains bordering Russia itself—to discover the true fate of his friend and Georgia’s future.

Ben Webster goes missing right at the time when his corporate intelligence firm is facing a legal suit from the authorities, and to solve his sudden absence, Issac Hammer launches himself on the dangerous journey to find his friend-cum-partner. The journey lands him immediately on the perilous mountains in the capital city, Tbilisi, of Georgia where he finds himself in the middle of some deadly political war as the streets are everyday filled with bloodshed and so much scandal and corruption is playing on the background. In this war, Hammer need to worry about the safety of his own life, as he goes knocking and sniffing on wrong doors by infuriating wrong group of Russian mobs. Amidst of so much chaos, Hammer finds a bit of solace in the comforting words of Natela, who is the widow of the murdered journalist, who have managed to crack a politically scandalized breaking news, and Webster was visiting the funeral of that journalist until he goes missing. But can Hammer survive or will he be able to find Webster without fueling up any more political trouble for the already suffering city, Tbilisi?

The author's writing style is absolutely brilliant laced properly with enough suspense and tension that will keep the readers on their edges all throughout the story. The narrative is equally arresting right from the beginning that is both reflects reality and local dialect that will make the readers comprehend better with the well-developed plot. The pacing is really fast as this pot-boiler progresses like a roller-coaster filled with some adrenaline rushing scenes and with some raw violence, that will definitely make the readers feel the rush and the thrill of this story.

The mystery is quite well-concocted filled with unexpected twists and turns that will not only keep the readers anticipating till the very end, but will also shake them with the intensity of those twists and turns that are peeled one layer after another with the progress of the story. The mystery is at times bit deadly with a bone-chilling fear peeping from the pages of the book. right from the very first page, the readers will be absorbed into the story that eventually treads towards its unpredictable and dark depth, which ash been depicted strikingly by the author.

The characters in this book are extremely well portrayed properly with their flaws and strong qualities that make them look real in the eyes of the readers. The main character, Issac Hammer has not been on field duty for the past 10 years, but now after so many years of out of practice, he returns back to the practical world that challenges him constantly, as he is beaten up and tortured all through out his ordeal in Georgia. But his determination never once fails him and he comes out of it brave and strong, thus setting him apart among the rest of the characters. The author even paints him with lots of back story that makes him easy to contemplate and sympathize with from the readers' POV. The rest of the supporting characters are also pretty well etched out.

Although the background of the story is not at all well depicted by the author as the readers will face trouble win adjusting with the sudden scenery change of each city or country or rather say will leave the readers confuse as there are so many loose ends to the details and the portrayal of the background country.

In a nutshell, the story is riveting enough to keep the readers hooked into the story so crime fiction fans will find this book enthralling and exciting till the very climax that ends with a bit of a cliffhanger.

Verdict: A compelling political thriller.

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Christopher Morgan Jones' publicist for giving me an opportunity to read and review this book.

Author Info:
Chris Morgan Jones worked for eleven years at the world’s largest business intelligence agency, and has advised Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, New York banks, London hedge funds, and African mining companies. The author of The Silent Oligarch and The Jackal’s Share, he lives in London.
Visit him here

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