Review: Vanishing Games by Roger Hobbs

Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Title: Vanishing Games (Jack White, #2)
Author: Roger Hobbs
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: 16th July 2015
Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780857522054
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5
Purchase: Amazon
I work alone.

I may be the best thief in the world but no one will ever know a single thing about me. Well, almost no one.

A lifetime ago I had a mentor, Angela. She taught me how to be a criminal, how to run a heist.

And now, six years after she vanished and left me high and dry on a job in Kuala Lumpur, she’s sent me an SOS.

Or at least I think it’s her. If it is, then I've got to go. I owe her that much.

So soon I'll be on a plane to Macau, either to see a friend or walk into a trap. Or both.

But that's the way I like it. Sometimes the only thing that makes me happy is risking my life.

Time to go.

After reading and enjoying Ghostman I then read that a sequel was in the works, and I couldn't wait to read it. Vanishing Games is that sequel and for me it was even more thrilling and exciting to read than Ghostman.

Vanishing Games is one of those books you really need to read without knowing all that much about it. So the blurb tells us that after a heist in Macau goes badly wrong, a criminal mastermind known only as Angela must call upon her old friend Jack, the Ghostman, to help her fix things before she ends up dead. Jack arrives in Macau and finds himself embroiled in a criminal conspiracy bigger than he has ever seen. Jack and Angela soon have their work cut out for them trying to stay alive and attempting to escape. They are being chased by some very dangerous people who will stop at nothing to take back what was stolen from them. And in terms of what was stolen it makes for compelling reading, and had me reading up further online about real life cases.

To call Vanishing Games all the usual cliches: addictive, heartstopping, thrilling etc would be an understatement. It really is nonstop action all the way through with two of the best characters I have read about this year in Jack and Angela. I was a little bit confused in the beginning because I was convinced I knew so much about Angela already, but then I remembered about the Angela from Lorenzo Carcaterra's most recent novel, The Wolf. Both characters have various similarities however and Roger's Angela is one of the best female characters that I have ever read about. In Ghostman Jack was very much an enigma, a truly intriguing character and in Vanishing Games we are given further insight into his past, especially his relationship with Angela, somebody he hasn't seen for six years since she quite literally vanished from his life. They are both massively interesting characters, and when they are together on the page you can almost feel the tension yourself.

One of the real strengths of this series is the research carried out by Roger Hobbs, and his obvious knowledge about the subjects that he is talking about. He has captured the settings of Macau and Hong Kong and the various other places our characters find themselves in brilliantly. It felt as if I was part of the book myself, but I was relieved to not actually be a part of it. Roger goes into great detail when discussing technology, drugs, criminals and the underworld, some might say it can be too much detail because it does detract from the action somewhat but personally I want that level of detail and I doubt there will be a thriller released this year more authentic than Vanishing Games.

The story moves at a blistering pace as we follow Jack and Angela across this metropolis as they fight to stay alive. It's one of those stories where you never know what's around the corner, you only know that you can't wait to find out. Towards the end of the book in particular things become extremely intense, and I just had to finish the book in one sitting. Jack and Angela find themselves in so many situations that leave you wondering just how the hell they are going to get out of them, but as the masters of disguise they are two of the cleverest and most cunning characters I have ever read about. All too often you can read a thriller that is ruined by its ending, but the ending in Vanishing Games was just as good as everything that came before. I highly recommend that readers pick up this book, and Ghostman too for those that haven't already. Vanishing Games is one of those books that reminds me why I read and I loved every minute of it.

5/5

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