Review: A New Menace by Roger A. Price (5/5)

Thursday 23 October 2014
Newly retired from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency, John Burrows is shocked to be called back by his old bosses for one last job. And not just any job – he's on the tail of his old adversary, the infamous Jonny Moon, a dangerous and volatile criminal who will stop at nothing to get his own way.

When a civilian is kidnapped and tortured by Moon's associates after a botched surveillance operation, Burrows knows he's in deep water. Not only must he track down Moon and deal with a mole in the ranks, he must do all this without Moon finding out who he is. Or who his partner, Jane Lee, is – the officer who, last time they met, showed him that he's not invincible.

A New Menace is a taut thriller, an exciting tale of covert surveillance, lies, deception and double agents.

I suppose it's a bit snobbish of me to say that I only read books from big publishers, but until I started blogging that was true. The blogging world opened my eyes up to the smaller publishers, and it was here that I discovered Roger A. Price who very kindly sent me a review copy of his first novel, By Their Rules, which I loved. Having now read both of his books I am a massive fan, and think his work should be read by a much bigger audience than it probably is right now. Perhaps he will one day be snapped up by a big publisher, and I only hope that he is. 

A New Menace can be read as a standalone, but it would be beneficial to the reader to have the full background of our two main characters John Burrows and Jane Lee. That said Roger does give enough background to get you up to speed but By Their Rules is a fantastic read and shouldn't be missed.

John Burrows is asked out of retirement - he hasn't actually retired but is working in secret for the Special Projects Unit, a secret government department - by his old bosses for one last job. What on paper should be a quick, straightforward operation soon finds Burrows battling for his life as he and Lee once again attempt to bring down one of the most vicious criminals they have ever come across. The National Crime Agency are bugging the house of an old adversary of Burrows', Jonny Moon when four of their men are attacked, and a civilian is taken hostage, his life in danger if the NCA refuse to drop their investigation into Moon. In the background Moon has big plans with a shady character out in Greece so the NCA breathing down his neck isn't an exciting proposition. Burrows and Lee are colleagues first and foremost, but will they ever be more? The addition of a third team member adds to the overall tension.

What I like is brutal, gruesome crime fiction and that is what has been dished up here. Some of the scenes almost make you want to look away yet you can't because it is just so addictive to read. Moon is an evil character and not somebody you want to get on the wrong side of. Burrows and Lee are already known to him, although he is under the impression they are fellow criminals. Previous events have left him baying for their blood, and Bonnie and Clyde (Moon's nickname for Burrows and Lee) are soon on his trail. The book is an absolute page-turner, I did - a cliche I know - struggle to put it down once I started reading. I was second guessing everybody that we met, and didn't trust anybody.

Roger's background in the police makes him more than qualified to write a book like this. The whole thing feels very genuine, authentic and original and that makes for a much more exciting read. He can't of course write about his own experiences but he can base fiction on them and if his experiences are half as dramatic as this - which reading his biography they probably are - then he has had one hell of a career. Often crime fiction reads can come across as quite amateurish, yet when they are from ex-police you want it to feel real and it does here.

What I want when I finish a book is to want the next installment immediately, for the book to be that good and this was. Roger is an extremely talented author who held my attention throughout, making me almost oblivious to the world around me so engrossed was I in the book. The ending is extremely fast-paced, demanding to be read in one sitting. A very apt final paragraph should lead nicely into book three. Authors do of course have lives, but I hope the wait for book three isn't too long and I'm excited to see where Roger takes us next. I can't reccommend A New Menace (and By Their Rules) enough for crime fiction fans.

Thanks to Roger A. Price for the review copy.

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