Review – Ultimatum by Simon Kernick

By | March 18, 2013

Action thrillers are an unusual genre for me, but I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of books by Simon Kernick – his excellent breakneck paced Relentlessand his recent (and excellent) Quick Read Wrong Time Wrong Place. So I was delighted to secure a copy of his new one via netgalley and his publishers Random House/Century.

This is the sequel to The Siege, but that’s no obstacle to enjoyment as the author retells some of the story and very effectively introduces the main characters along with some understanding of their backgrounds and motivations.  Tina Boyd is a feisty policewoman with scant regard for processes and rules – she drives the fast paced story, but also has her softer side in her affection for ex-boss Mike Bolt.  I liked Jones too, the Afghanistan veteran with the family background and the history as criminal, undercover operative and ex-prisoner. 

The story is fast and exciting, with characters of pure evil engaged in acts of terrorism involving high explosives and stinger missiles, all set amid the familiar scenery and iconic buildings of London.  There’s thrill piled on thrill, and it’s certainly a book that keeps you turning the pages.  While I cheered Tina on as she operated well outside the normal rules, I must admit I found it rather more difficult to engage with the hardened criminals and their chilling acts of violence.

But the pace is good and I liked the fact that the story is set quite firmly in a familiar setting and amid a very realistic world of political intrigue.  Not entirely my cup of tea, but an enjoyable read. And should the series continue, he’s certainly built a set of memorable and engaging characters who are facing a challenging future.