When a CIA informant from Kandahar is gunned down in a suburban area of Virginia outside D.C., special Agent Jack Saunders is tasked with uncovering a plot that could alter the fate of Afghanistan and unsettle a tepid peace in the Middle East. But when a raid on a radical safe house goes horribly wrong, Jack finds himself without support within his own government. Determined to find answers on his own, Jack enlists the aid of Cianna Phelan, a disgraced former war hero trying to put her life back together.

The Guardian by David Hosp

The Guardian by David Hosp

When Cianna’s brother, Charlie, returns to South Boston from active duty in Afghanistan and immediately goes missing, Cianna and Jack find themselves in a race against time not only to save his life, but to prevent an international conspiracy at the highest levels of the US intelligence community. As lives are lost in the warrens of Boston’s clannish underworld, Jack and Cianna realize they are on the trail of one of the most sacred artefacts in all of Islam. And when the bullets start to fly, they realize they can never know whom to trust, and nothing is what it seems.

2012 is seriously turning in to an action, conspiracy and thriller fest for me with a number of high quality titles falling into my lap and David Hosp’s The Guardian, the latest in this group, is certainly no exception. With an incredibly busy July ahead, what with a heavy workload and the Harrogate Crime Festival a matter of weeks away, I’m struggling to find time to read everything I want to. Selection and planning is key at the moment and although this title admittedly wasn’t initially at the top of my reading pile I’m so glad I took the time to bump it up and read it. Planning went well and truly out of the window but sometimes you just have to break your own rules!

I really really – yes I did say really twice – enjoyed this book. Very easy to read with a pacy narrative and characters to die for – literally – I just wanted to keep turning the pages one by one in quick succession. In fact this is the second book of the week I found myself reading well into the wee small hours of the morning, another I simply couldn’t go to bed until I found out what would happen in the end – testament to a well told story and great characterisation, fortunately I’m still functioning on a few hours sleep!

The storyline grips you from the very first page and although I wasn’t expecting it I absolutely loved the Afghan angle to this adventure helped largely by a superb character in Akhtar Hazara even though we don’t get to meet him again until later in the book. Hosp sets the scene well with a solid foundation and a certain amount of intrigue surrounding a special artefact that is of great importance to Afghanistan and her people. For centuries this priceless artefact has remained hidden away and guarded by generations tasked with ensuring its safety and secrecy. Unfortunately the item is stolen and a frenetic chase ensues in the United States to locate the item. But what is it? Why is it so special? You’ll just have to read the book and find out!

The book for me is a cross between an Indiana Jones film and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, I was expecting Sean Connery to come around the corner any minute – it didn’t happen of course – but hopefully you get the idea. A thrill a minute adventure, one of the strengths of this book is that you truly didn’t know what would happen to the characters and although I had a rough idea what would happen in the end it was the journey that was the most important for me. It felt real, believable, both in story and content. Hosp isn’t afraid to push things to the edge and you never quite know how far the bad guys will go to glean a nugget of information. I can’t say too much about this for fear of spoilers but hopefully all will become clear when you read the book.

Characterisation is strong and in Jack Saunders and Cianna Phelan you have two enigmatic and mysterious protagonists and together with well-placed flashbacks we get to learn a little more about the pair and how they were thrown together. They work well as a team and this adventure is certainly stronger for their powerful partnership. They aren’t the only ones in the book of course and there were a number of characters – good and bad – I really enjoyed. There wasn’t one that I didn’t enjoy and none superfluous to the story. The best compliment I could give is that I am seriously worried I’m magnetically drawn to Spudgie’s bar and grill! Pour me a cold one barkeep!

A brilliant read, I can’t unfortunately go too deep with this review without giving the game away but suffice to say it was entertaining, bang on the money and a gripping thriller. It has certainly pushed David Hosp into a category of must read for me. Superb.

The Guardian by David Hosp is available in Paperback.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan (2 Aug 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 0230761089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230761087
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