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The Last 10 Seconds - Simon Kernick
Member Name: jeffjen
The Last 10 Seconds - Simon Kernick
Advantages: Fast paced and a great story and characters. Plenty of twists.
As Tina delves further, she discovers that the Night Creeper's murders are part of a much larger criminal conspiracy and her quest to uncover the truth puts her in extreme danger, as she discovers there are some people out there who want her silenced - permanently.
Meanwhile Sean Egan, an undercover cop, has infiltrated one of the UK's most notorious criminal gangs and is determined to bring its members to justice, even if it means risking his life.
Sean has a personal score to settle and Tina has a few issues and uncertainties herself. The only thing that is certain is that they are both going to have a fight on their hands, just to stay alive.
The start of the book introduces us to a very bloody and battered Sean Egan; seriously wounded after being shot, he is slouched on the floor in an old disused building surrounded by dead bodies. DI Tina Boyd enters the room just as Sean is believing he is about to die, but then more shots are fired.
We are then taken back to 37 hours earlier and find DI Tina Boyd and her squad about to apprehend a serial killer - the' Night Creeper'.
What follows is a rollercoaster of a read which follows two different characters, Tina and Sean, featuring in alternate chapters as they battle their way through extreme danger to uncover the truth in what starts out as two different storylines, but which later ultimately ties them together.
If you are familiar, as I am, with Simon Kernick's work, then you will undoubtedly know that you are in for fast-paced relentless action when you pick up one of his books and once again he does not disappoint.
DI Tina Boyd has featured in other novels of Kernick's but the reader does not need to have read any of these to understand this book. Tina is a flawed detective, good at her job, but struggling with a drink problem which sees her finding it hard to complete a shift without having a drink. Some of her history is briefly explained, for those who may not have read the other books and it is understandable why she struggles. Her career is all she has and she is determined to keep it, as she has a score to settle.
Sean Egan on the other hand is still haunted by the murder of his brother 15 years earlier. A war hero, his brother was left wounded and facially disfigured by an attack whilst serving in the Gulf war. Out in London one day, he apprehends some robbers and pays the ultimate price with his life as he is shot by the robbers making their getaway. Before shooting him the killer calls him a 'freak'.
Sean remains desperate to hunt down his brother's murderer and bring him to justice.
The book flows really well with the character of Sean being described in the first person and the chapters featuring Tina in the third person. Both headstrong, flawed characters, each with their own agendas as well as doing their job, this is a breath of fresh air away from the usual good cops doing their jobs to bring criminals to justice, which can sometimes make for a less than exciting read.
Here though, the action is literally non-stop from start to finish with many chapters ending on a cliffhanger line which saw me quickly turning the page to find out what happens next. Indeed I am not ashamed to admit I was actually holding my breath on several occasions!
Kernick has excelled himself with this book. I have read and enjoyed some of his other novels but sometimes felt they were a little far-fetched in places. Here however, I think he has got the balance just right and although once again the entire story takes place over a couple of days, I didn't think the timescale was unbelievable.
What starts out as an interesting read anyway, quickly becomes something much deeper and complex with plenty of twists throughout as nothing goes smoothly. Indeed no sooner have they caught the notorious Night Creeper than he finds an alibi for one of the murders, is poisoned whilst being held in custody and then gets hijacked from the ambulance on the way to hospital and vanishes with his kidnappers.
This is just the first twist in this thrilling page-turner and they don't stop there. I had no idea how this book was going to end and several times when I began to think I knew what was going to happen next, something else would be thrown up to prove me wrong and so I was kept guessing right until the end.
Kernick's atmospheric prose in parts of the book really builds up the suspense and tension throughout. There is quite a lot of violence, as you would expect in a book such as this, but because of the characters it also offers a lot more and I found myself caring about what happens to them even when they display some unorthodox methods. It was particularly interesting to read how Sean copes when he finds himself actually liking one of the gang members. It is totally believable and Kernick describes Sean's emotions and feelings really well. This was one of the stand-out parts of the book for me.
If you like a good fast-paced crime thriller which offers plenty of action and twists and turns then I can recommend this book. It is no surprise either to see that my favourite author, Harlan Coben endorses this book on the cover with the words - "Simon Kernick writes with his foot pressed hard on the pedal. Hang on tight!" A very apt description of Kernick's work.
Summary: My favourite Simon Kernick novel to date.