Theft. Kidnapping. Assassination.
There are some acts no government can sanction. There are some things all politicians must deny. Sometimes the left hand cannot know what the right hand is doing. Austin Clay is that right hand.
His latest task: to track down a fellow CIA operative who has gone missing near Moscow. But
nothing is what it seems, and he soon finds himself protecting a desperate woman with a deadly secret.
Clay has always preferred to work on his own. But this time he has no choice – and no idea whom to trust.
The Right Hand is one of those books I wanted to read the minute I’d finished reading the blurb on the back cover, who doesn’t like a good spy thriller and given the author’s pedigree I had high hopes for the thriller. I wasn’t disappointed but what I did get was something quite unexpected.
Although the book is a modern day thriller set in and around Russia, America and the Czech Republic to name but a few countries, it wasn’t long before I’d forgotten about modern technology and was completely ensconced in an espionage thriller that harked back to the old days of betrayal, double cross and counter cross. So much so that the mere mention of a mobile phone or some such device in the text and I abruptly came to my senses, only to be transported back into the olden days a page or two later. I’m not sure I’m explaining myself all that well and it may well be a personal issue that I found with the book, others may not experience this but this is by no means a negative, absolutely not, it certainly added a deeper dimension for me, one I thoroughly enjoyed and allowed my imagination to run with the ball making the reading a little bit more rewarding.
It would be interesting to discover if this was ever an intention of the author or just something I felt while reading the book.
The narrative is well written and incredibly easy to read. The pace is fluid which allowed a rapid completion in just two sittings. Characterisation was well thought out and I enjoyed Clay’s back story, a history that helped give a deeper understanding of his personality and what led him to become a CIA operative. There are a number of strong characters in the book but most time is given to developing Clay’s role as a protagonist, rightly so given this novel marks a new series for Derek Haas.
One of my favourite passages in the book sees Austin Clay trying to escape from a sticky situation on the back of a Russian motorbike with the rain pouring down – in rural Russia – on his way to Vladivostok, the narrative was so well written that I couldn’t help but be a part of the escape. I felt every rain drop, felt every vibration on the road and shivered as Clay struggled to stay warm and dry as he searched for shelter.
I enjoyed the travelling from city to city and town to town, the story itself is full to the brim of dead bodies, murders and gunfire. I did feel that a few scenes stretched the imagination a little bit and some were a tad implausible but this is an intelligent spy thriller that you have to forgive a couple of questionable escapes!
The ending is well thought out and Haas ties all the loose ends up nicely, leaving the door slightly ajar for the next instalment but he doesn’t leave you hanging as I thought he would. I did think there was another possible ending in store and surprised he opted for this one. Having said that I did like the diner scene at the end – but I can’t say more than that without giving the game away!
The Right Hand is an intelligent and well-structured spy thriller set in modern day Russia that will keep you entertained from beginning to end. A huge amount of dead bodies and well scripted dialogue makes this a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable quick read. I’m certainly looking forward to the follow up.
- Paperback: 320 pages (260 pages for the story plus chapter teaser at the end)
- Publisher: Mulholland Books (8 Nov 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444729195
- ISBN-13: 978-1444729191