Source: Review copy
Publication: 28 November 2019 from Century
Alastair Sheridan has it all. Wealth, good looks, a beautiful wife and children and, in the chaotic world of British politics, a real chance of becoming Prime Minister.
But Alastair also has a secret. He’s a serial killer with a taste for young women.
Only a handful of people know what kind of monster he is, and disgraced detective Ray Mason is one of them.Awaiting trial for murder, Ray is unexpectedly broken free by armed men and given an offer: assassinate Alastair Sheridan and begin a new life abroad with a new identity. The men claim to be from MI6. They say that Sheridan is a threat to national security and needs to be neutralised. Ray knows they are not who they say they are, and that their real motives are far darker.
The only person Ray trusts is ex-cop and former lover Tina Boyd, who’s keen to settle her own scores with Sheridan.
With enemies on every side, only one thing is certain.
No one wants them to get out alive.
Simon Kernick likes to mix and match his characters and though each of his books can be read as a stand-alone, together they make up more than the sum of their parts. So Ray Mason, Tina Boyd and Mike Bolt have all appeared in previous books, but Die Alone is the final part of the Bone Field Trilogy. Don’t let any of that get in the way of enjoying this excellent, fast paced novel, though.
Ray Mason was a police detective, and a damned good one. But his tolerance for letting vicious killers get away has reached its limits and as a result when we meet him he is in the Vulnerable Prisoners Wing of a high security prison, awaiting trial for a double murder. Disgraced and disowned by his own colleagues and with a price on his head put there by those criminals whose lives and crimes he has disrupted, Mason has few friends and way too many enemies.
So when, in the midst of a prison riot, Mason is liberated from the prison and promised a new life and a new identity, he knows his options are limited. It helps that in exchange for this largesse, Mason has to kill a man he knows to be the personification of evil.
Alastair Sheridan is the most loathsome of villains, a seemingly respectable fat cat turned politician who is also a sadistic serial killer. Behind a façade of bonhomie, he has blackmailed and crawled his way almost to the top by associating with some of the worst villains there are, both at home and internationally. Sheridan is clever though and his façade is near perfect, with a trophy wife and seemingly unimpeachable lifestyle.
Mason knows differently though and is prepared to use cold blooded killing as a way to take out this vile perpetrator.
But Mason has been set up and soon the hunter becomes the hunted. Soon his very few friends will be putting their lives at risk for him as he hares from one death defying shoot out to another, putting everyone he cares about in serious danger.
Kernick has created in Mason an honourable man who the justice system has failed, making him ready to mete out his own form of retribution. He keeps his promises, regardless of the personal cost and though he knows he is not good for her, he feels a bond with Tina Boyd that he can’t help but tug on.
Die Alone is an action-packed thrill ride. It is relentless in its pace and the quest for justice is never far away from his protagonist’s quick thinking mind. Mason is a man who lives life to the full and is never more than three paces away from the next ambush.
Vivid, with just enough scary violence and with an authentic feel for the criminal underbelly of England, Die Alone is an electric read.
Verdict: The very definition of a thrill-ride, Die Alone starts at a running pace and just gets faster. The characters are engaging and the plot electric. If you like your protagonists quick thinking and commando fit, Die Alone is the book for you.
Simon Kernick is a British thriller/crime writer now living in Oxfordshire with his wife and two daughters. Whilst he was a student his jobs included fruitpicker and Christmas-tree uprooter. He graduated from Brighton Polytechnic in 1991 with a degree in humanities. Kernick had a passion for crime fiction writing from a young age and produced many short stories during his time at polytechnic. After graduating Kernick joined MMT Computing in London in early 1992, then joined the sales force of the specialist IT and Business Consultancy Metaskil plc in Aldermaston, Berkshire in 1998 where he remained until he secured his first book deal (The Business of Dying) in September 2001. His novel Relentless was recommended on Richard & Judy’s Summer book club 2007. It was the 8th best-selling paperback, and the best-selling thriller in the UK in the same year. He is a Sunday Times #1 bestselling author and one of the UK’s foremost thriller writers. His twelve novels have been translated into more than twenty languages and have sold more than four million copies worldwide.