Monday 23 April 2018

Review: Thriller: The Devil’s Elixir by Raymond Khoury

Orion, €16.99
Available withfree P&P or bycalling 091 709350

Raymond Khoury has had great success, including four consecutive New York Times No 1s, with his exciting Templar series. In this archaeologist Tess Chaykin and FBI agent Sean Reilly unravel, always at great personal risk, ancient mysteries pertaining to the Knights Templar that have present-day ramifications.

In the intrepid pair's latest adventure, The Devil's Elixir, they once again join forces to thwart a grave threat that has its roots in 1700s Mexico and the mysterious jungles of Central America.

Somewhere in those jungles is a natural drug, previously lost to history, capable of inducing an experience so momentous and unsettling that were it widely available it might shake the very foundations of Western civilisation.

One of Mexico's most vicious drug lords is Raoul Navarro, a man so amoral and cruel that his nickname is 'el brujo' or the brute. By dint of kidnapping and imprisoning scientists from American laboratories, Navarro is close to synthesising this drug.

As Tess and Sean, as well as the DEA and FBI, edge ever closer to shutting down el brujo's operation, Sean realises the merciless criminal has targeted someone very close to him.

The Devil's Elixir is enjoyably, high-adrenaline escapism delivered with considerable panache.

Simon Kernick's big breakthrough came with the publication of the breathlessly paced crime novel Relentless in 2007, which became the bestselling thriller that year in Britain.

His follow-up novels have been equally successful, but in Siege he has upped his game considerably.

This Thursday morning seems the same as any other in London as people get up and start their day -- until a vicious attack on a suburban home is followed by a series of massive explosions around the city causing devastation and death.

A team of highly trained gunmen take over the exclusive Stanhope Hotel on Park Lane and give the British government just five hours to accede to their demands before people start to die.

As the hours tick away, the gunmen become more violent and the hostages fear the worst.

Nail-bitingly tense, Siege is genuinely unputdownable.

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