The Night Charter

Written by Sam Hawken

Review written by Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson is the author of 22 crime and spy thrillers. His next book ‘Rocco and the Nightingale’ (The Dome Press), the fifth in his French police series set in Picardie in the 1960s, is out on 19 October 2017 More information https://www.adrianmagson.com/


The Night Charter
Mulholland Books
RRP: £13.99
Released: January 14 2016
PBK

Hawken’s latest book finds his tough female character, Camaro Espinoza, running a charter business off the Miami coast. Working very much to her own rules, she puts up with a varied clientele, mostly sport fishermen, and as a former army pro, is quite capable of dealing with any funny business.

But there’s funny and there’s plain dangerous. And when she hires out her boat to a nice enough guy named Parker, supposedly fronting a group of friends wanting to go fishing, she quickly discovers that he is actually in the grip of a criminal gang, and his young daughter Lauren is at risk if Camaro doesn’t do what he wants. The fishing trip turns out to be to a spot off the coast of Cuba, where they will be picking up a passenger. Camaro, who has a tough past with more than her share of death and violence, wants nothing to do with any of it, but she’s worried about the girl and finally agrees to go along in the hope of controlling things.

It doesn’t take long for the charter to go badly wrong, and the pick-up passenger, a leading anti-Castro activist, falls into the wrong hands. A bidding war for his life begins and Parker is killed in the crossfire, leaving Lauren at the mercy of the ruthless gang leader, Matt Clifford. Meanwhile, local Miami PD Detective Ignacio Montellano is trying to figure out just who is involved in the multi-faceted war going on around the city, and is getting closer to thinking that Comaro is implicated in some way, while trying to keep the FBI off his turf.

This is as about as straightforward a story as you can get, with a red-hot mix of ancient political feuds, honour, criminality and double-cross. Camaro is a goodie in a bad world, but her past has equipped her with the skills to hold her own, and she is soon drawn into a triangular fight she cannot afford to lose. Along the way she has to stay one step ahead of Clifford and his men on one side, the Cubans of various colours on the other, and Det Montellano on the third.

Hawken’s previous works have been well-judged in the past, being shortlisted for three CWA Daggers: The John Creasey, the Gold and the Steel. This is a good indication why.

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