Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
A member of the Royal Navy’s Special Investigation KILL team, Lt Danielle ‘Dan’ Lewis is assigned to a unique investigation into the apparent suicide of a naval officer on board the nuclear submarine HMS Tenacity.
What proves unique about it is that the officer appears to have killed himself following his wife’s rape and murder, and that there is a suspicion that somebody else on the submarine may be involved in her killing.
For Dan Lewis, getting at the truth seems a matter of procedure and elimination, and of establishing the whereabouts of every member of the crew. But to do that she has to go on board – and the sub is shortly about to depart on patrol.
It’s evident right from the start that her presence on the ‘boat’ is deeply resented and unwelcome, from the colds looks, the deliberately close brush-pasts and the viciously sexist comments. She finds it’s an all-male world where women are regarded by some as bad luck … and by others as fair game. And in the tight confines of a modern submarine, space is at a premium and privacy barely exists. Even the boat’s captain, Commander Melvin Bradshaw, can hardly conceal his impatience and hostility towards her.
But there are other problems Dan has to face, too. Her history includes tracking down a serial killer who turned out to be a naval lieutenant, and the way the navy and press turned on her when she concluded that he had to have had help in the torture and murder of an unknown number of women. And everybody, it seems, knows who she is and hates her for it.
This is first and foremost a crime novel, but with a big difference. Unlike normal crime scenarios this is a captive investigator locked in a big tube below the waves with a hostile crew, one of which she is certain is a murderer. And Lewis has no way of calling for help, no contact with the outside world unless the captain allows it, and the threat of danger – even death – around every dark corner and bulkhead as her own fears threaten to take over her every waking moment.
In short, this is a book about a lone woman in a tiny world of no sunlight, constant noise, oppressive surroundings and fellow human beings, and the constant threat of claustrophobia … and physical danger so real she can taste it.
The descriptions are vivid, the atmosphere frighteningly authentic, and could only have been written by somebody who has been there, done it and lived in such surroundings.
And this author – a former submariner – has done.