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by Tom Cain
Bantam Press, July 2007
416 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 0593058054

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Freelance journalist Tom Cain has produced a true thriller, one that will have you holding your breath as you turn the pages, only remembering to breathe when the black spots start appearing in front of your unwilling eyes after all, you wouldn't want to waste any time that could be spent finding out more of the adventures of Sam Carver, just because you carelessly blacked out.

I have to admit that THE ACCIDENT MAN has a great deal of gripping power more, even than Tarzan's Grip. It contains deadly deeds performed by an assassin well, he does have qualms when collateral damage takes out any innocents while the nefarious are being executed.) As the author says: "Samuel Carver made very bad accidents happen to even worse people."

The action begins when Carver is in the middle of taking out a middle eastern slave trader; that task successfully completed, he returns to his hideout in New Zealand but he is called out of hiding by his chief employer and instructed that he must perform a further execution of a baddie or have his own career brought to an end. Reluctantly, Carver assents and is assigned the task of knocking off a Pakistani bad guy with close ties to terrorists. So off he goes to Paris.

Max, Carver's employer, has pulled a swiftie on the assassin. In order to have a back-up plan, Carver goes to the target's apartment but is horrified to discover paraphernalia that could only belong to a woman there. Max mollifies him (or intimidates him) by pointing out that civilians, such as a target's pilots, are always collateral damage in these exercises. Carver puts aside his wavering and gets on with his sabotage.

Carver positions himself at the Alma tunnel through which he has been told his victim will pass. Sure enough, a Mercedes, driving much too quickly, enters the tunnel followed by a man brandishing a camera on a motorbike. As the world knows, the attempt is successful and Carver's target dies.

As is so common these days, fictional heroes (or anti-heroes) become surrounded by people determined to double-cross them at any cost. It seems that every man and his dog is out to get both Carver and the Russian woman, Alix, who becomes his ally. They seem not to be able to find safety even in Switzerland and certainly Carver's very existence and knowledge of his identity is threatened.

There is, as previously indicated, no lack of thrills and spills in this goosebump creator. Of course, the identity of the victim of the chase in the Alma Tunnel will add interest to the book. The characters are very nicely drawn, thank you, both the semi-callous assassin and the Russian woman, survivor of dreadful hardships. A computer nerd makes a convincing aide for Carver and then there is the super-rich Russian puppet master with a taste for the young and beautiful.

One thing with which I was especially impressed in this adventure was that when people were in desperate struggles, they did not immediately recover from grievous ills inflicted on them. They didn't receive a bullet wound that nearly takes their lives and be ready to take on the next group of villains the next day. No fear. Instead, they are given very human reactions and require time and health care to get back to a semblance of themselves.

The connection to the real world would no doubt do a lot to ensure some success for the author but his writing would leave little doubt that the novel should be a huge hit. I am afraid that the unmasking of the pseudonymous Mr Cain left me unmoved since I'd never heard of him before. Still, he is half a world away so no doubt that explains it. The public is told that THE ACCIDENT MAN is not a one off so I greatly look forward to another well-plotted adventure.

Reviewed by Denise Pickles, July 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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