JR Landon’s second novel following debut Cancer of Time is a thrill-ride of a story involving state of the art technology. A well thought out, meticulously planned Bank Heist, gangsters, dodgy dealing, an unneeded but not unwanted brush with fame, elements of a love story, Deering do, displays of either stupidity or luck, and descriptive passages all add to the book’s heady mix of action and suspense.
Set mainly in New York, the story is centred around a planned bank heist. Incompetent businessman Dennis Buchanan is a genius with computer hacking. All he needs is a physical team to carry out his ideas and pay off the mountainous, ruinous debts that are crippling his family. All of his problems will be solved as long as his plans work out.
As the novel progresses, the main character Max finds himself in further scrapes, having started the story in Hong Kong, feeling the business end of the butt of a Baretta handgun. Throughout the story, we are introduced to many characters, from the media who hound him, the gangsters and bank robbers who are after him, hotel workers, passengers, and all manner of people that Max has to stay one step in front of.
The book’s twists all add to an increasing sense of dread and unease until a denouement that is both fitting and in tune with the pace and tone of the book reveals itself. At nearly 400 pages, the book could have done with a strong edit. Like other epics, the ending should have come sooner. If a story starts to run out of steam at 300 pages, it should only really be 250 pages to keep the reader’s attention. However, there are many characters, inciting incidents, and obvious co-incidences to fit into the book before the ending. This is a well written, carefully plotted book with enough characters, gritty dialogue and set-pieces to keep you guessing until the end.
Reviewed by Ben Macnair
Independently published (25 Feb. 2019)
Paperback, ISBN 978-1797649375.