A “miasma” of espionage, bio-terrorism, murder, and intrigue, this book is a wild, somewhat wacky, and deeply chilling (and I fear, only mildly fictional) journey into modern day socio-politics.
The third by this author in the Karen Andersen series, this novel easily stands alone ( I read it without having previously read any others in the series).
Karen is an interesting protagonist – a very relatable “small-time investigator”, who stoically keeps her head in the toughest of situations, including her on-again-off-again love affair with her handsome Japanese boyfriend Haruto Fraser. Karen is disarmingly normal, an anchor of everyday-human in the midst of the pandemonium her “meddling” investigations quickly land her into.
Other returning cast members include retired inspector Quacker, a pedantic yet extremely capable security consultant who is curiously an object of extreme jealousy for his wife, Chris, herself a nurse with the NHS.
In this story, the author deftly works with difficult material, layering her fictional plot with dark references to modern-day terrors interlaced with subtle humor and a touch of madcap mayhem as our heroes battle Chinese spies in a race against a large scale bio-weaponry meltdown.
It’s a tough call identifying fact from fiction as the plot thickens to include state-controlled media and fake news, surveillance and intimidation, secret labs and subterfuge, set against a backdrop of the current Covid-19 crisis and our all too familiar existing global political tensions, creating a backdrop of suspense that alarmingly echoes modern-day real-life horrors.
Leaving me to wonder – is this book a work of fiction or better read as a high-time-we-hear-it wake-up call?
You will likely find thinking about the question, as well as the most likely answer, very unsettling.
My stop on the @RandomTTours #bookblog for @LouiseBurfDons #TheSecretWar