BY ANY MEANS - Ben Sanders
BY ANY MEANS is the second book from NZ author Ben Sanders. Sanders is a fan of writers such as Michael Connelly and Lee Child, which I suspect you can probably tell from his style. Rapid fire, with an opening that will really make you sit up and take notice BY ANY MEANS has a number of intriguing elements to it. It's a complex, shifting plot which moves through viewpoints rapidly. It has a lone wolf style of central character in Sean Devereaux, who despite being a cop, basically plays a solo part in resolving not just the opening shooting of the book, but, it seems, just about everything else that ever happens in Auckland. What little sense of partnership there is, is unusual for a cop, as ex-cop John Hale, current fugitive from justice himself, jumps in and out the action. And you'd be best placed to pay attention at those points - there is an awful lot going on that both these men are trying to stay on top of.
Given that this is the second book, and I know nothing at all about THE FALLEN I've a sneaking suspicion I should have read it first. There were points in BY ANY MEANS where I really thought I was missing something - that there's obviously something about both Devereaux and Hale that I just don't know. I really must go seek out that first book and see if I've made a bit of a mistake in reading them out of order.
On the upside, when Sanders is writing terse, pointed, sharp and tight action BY ANY MEANS is a seriously good thriller. That style does get a bit patchy in places, and it's when the terseness gives way to wordiness, where there's just a sneaking suspicion that the music and popular culture references are getting in the way of the plot, things do bog down a bit. There's also some very complicated plotting going on here and whilst things eventually do come full circle, back to the reason for one of the best opening's of a book I've read in a long time, it did seem, sometimes, that I was caught up in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike.
Friday rush hour, Auckland city. A lone shooter fires across a packed street and kills a man. Detective Sergeant Sean Devereaux is assigned the case. He's not complaining - his Friday nights are seldom better spent.
But the inquiry is not straightforward. Witness accounts are conflicting. The dead man appears to be an unintended victim, with the true target unknown.
That’s the least of Devereaux’s worries, though. His current case load includes an investigation into the deaths of the wife and daughter of a wealthy finance company director. His examination has revealed the situation is far more complex than anticipated, casting real doubt upon the division of innocence and guilt.
Devereaux's former colleague, John Hale, is in no position to help. Hale is occupied with his own pursuit of darkness, made all the more sinister by a dogged senior police officer determined to engineer his ruin.
Together the two men hunt for the truth from those who pursue self-gain by any means.