RED ICE - James Phelan
Never having read any of James Phelan's Lachlan Fox series before, RED ICE had to be approached as a standalone, which probably made for a different experience than that of the dedicated fan.
Lachlan Fox is an ex-navy operative turned investigative journalist, and in this book he's in France with friends, at the same time that the Russian Ambassador and his wife are assassinated. Despite being on holidays, Lachlan very quickly finds himself back in the action, in one of the all-time great car chase sequences. Followed by a very personal threat, a Russian criminal who escapes from law enforcement (via a plane to plane docking procedure), another great car chase, a lot of rushing around, a trip to Shanghai, and one of those impeding global catastrophe sort of threats
Now I don't know if Lachlan Fox is always quite such an energiser bunny sort of character, but I'm guessing he probably is. In RED ICE he's beaten, chased, beaten, threatened, beaten, scared, beaten and happily saving the day. Honestly, I've no idea how he was still moving around by the end of the book. It certainly didn't seem to be down to much in the way of medical assistance, yet he absorbs it all, and keeps going, saving the world. Which is part of the whole point of these sorts of thrillers really. The one man against the threat (in this case a very James Bondish Russian villain whose supporters seem to have some seriously impressive gadgetry).
RED ICE is the 5th Lachlan Fox book and it's hard to tell exactly what's going on, but I'm guessing that this book ties up some ends from the rest of the series. There's definitely a lot of history between Fox and the others in the cast in this book - but not having read any of the earlier books made it all a bit difficult to follow. I think that's probably the best argument for not starting with RED ICE as I've done. Obviously this is a series that has a lot of relationship development within it - but it's hard to tell how successful it's been starting at what feels like the end.
In terms of a pure thriller, with a big global conspiracy, a nicely sinister villain and a one man to save the world scenario, RED ICE really tore along. In fact, this conspiracy actually worked well - probably because elements of it were so personalised. I'm definitely going to have to go back to the earlier books - finding out everything there is to know about Lachlan Fox is the least you can do when the man is just trying his hardest to save us all.
Investigative journalist and ex-navy operative Lachlan Fox is holidaying with friends in the French countryside. He is ready for a break. But when the extradition of an infamous criminal goes horribly wrong, and is somehow tied to the assassination of a Russian diplomat in Paris, Fox is forced back into action.
Over one relentless day, Fox travels from Paris to Shanghai to unravel a 100-year old mystery. With a price on his head, navigating between the FBI, the CIA and the French police, who can he trust? Racing against time, Fox is the one man who can stand in the way of a global catastrophe.