This week is Murray Bailey week we’ll be looking at The Ash Carter Series, throwback reviews of The Kate Blakemore Series and I will end the week looking at Map of the Dead. Disclaimer I have worked with Murray before, I have been lucky enough to receive a collection of books from Murray himself in exchange for honest reviews.
Anyone who has followed my blog for a while I know I messed up with this series – I read the second book before the first (oh well). I still stand by what I said in the review for Singapore Girl I didn’t think it made that much difference within the narrative of this book however me being nosey did make me wonder whether I was missing something vital.
Ash Carter is an ex-Military Police Captain is forced into working for the British who were governing Singapore. However, when he arrives in Singapore, he finds himself in the middle of a much bigger problem. He is tasked with uncovering a plot to attack the island. He clashes with the army and the navy and makes friends and enemies in both camps. The story is clever and well written with more than enough action and plot twists to maintain this readers interest. With fascinating realistic characters, with a real sense of history and the time and place.
It's a touch slow in places but that's necessary to build up the complex scenarios as Ash Carter gradually works out what is going on. By halfway, it becomes a real page-turner. There is a lot going on with tensions slowly building the politicians, Army and Chinese Secret Societies. Of course, not everyone is who they appear to be, nor are their motives. Ash has to quickly figure out who's good, who's bad and how to prevent an attack when you don't know who the assailant is or when they'll attack. However, with pressure from politicians and the army growing and watching is every move, Ash has other plans he is more interested in finding out who killed his friend. Ash doesn't suffer fools gladly and he is prepared to break the law to get the information and the results that he wants.
I love that it was clear that Bailey has done a lot of research into the time period and geographical social norms and locations have been used brilliantly. The research on Singapore during the post-WWII era, the atmosphere of the poor versus the wealthy of that time and the unease between the Chinese and the Japanese was done respectfully and well thought out.
Murray has a wonderful talent while writing just when you think you know how his books are going to end without giving anything away bam it all unravels. There's a fabulous climax during the Chinese New Year's celebrations and a very satisfying conclusion. The plot was quite complicated and there were several twists along the way making the reader wonder just who Ash could trust and who was really pulling the strings. I loved all the twists and red herrings leading to a satisfying conclusion that took me by surprise and left me wanting more so I picked up Singapore Girl and reread it right away.
Ash Carter Series
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