By Gerald Seymour. Grade: A
Gerald Seymour, writer of twenty eight books, was a reporter at ITN (Independent Television News) for fifteen years and had expertise in covering crime and terrorism. After covering many sensitive topics, such as the Great Train Robbery, Munich Massacre and Vietnam, he became a fulltime writer in 1978. Mr. Seymour’s latest offering is ‘The Outsiders’, with praise of Independent on the cover:
“Quite simply, the most intelligent and accomplished in the current field”
To find the truth, let us explore the book.
Winnie Monks has never forgotten – or forgiven – the death of a young agent on her team at the hands of a former Russian Army Major turned gangster. Now, years later, she hears the Major is travelling to a villa on the Costa del Sol and she asks permission to send in a surveillance unit.
They find an empty property near the Major’s. The Villa Paraiso. It’s perfect to spy from – and as a base for Winnie’s darker, less official, plans.
But it turns out that the property isn’t deserted. The owners have invited a young British couple to ‘house sit’ while they are away.
For Jonno and Posie, just embarking on a relationship, this is supposed to be a carefree break in the sun. But when the Secret Service team arrives in paradise, everything changes.
The back blurb is intended to provide a clear setup of story and gives precise details. The protagonist Winnie Monks is the leader of the Graveyard team of MI5, and she is looking for the murderer of Damien Fenby, the youngest member of her team. She vowed to avenge the murder of Damien, no matter how long it took. And Winnie being Winnie, you know she’ll do it.
In the meantime, in Costa Del Sol, a young couple Jonno and Posie are cat-sitting in a family friend’s villa. They have no clue about their neighborhood and no idea of their unexpected future.
The story of ‘The Outsiders’ is developed in a very convincing manner. Intelligence Officials are described with minute details and a clear picture of their way of operation is given. Although the story moves slowly, with intriguing cerebral investigation, it is meticulously written around a tightly knit plot. The characters act in a manner that does not always makes sense, but Mr. Seymour’s detailing compensated it. A lot of text is used to develop the characters, which sometimes seems to drag the plot but doesn’t weaken the narration.
Mr. Seymour couldn’t refrain himself from the ‘Russian’ dilemma and again made them the antagonists. The way Mr. Seymour portrayed organized crime is provocative and shows his journalistic past. It’s very, very well researched. There were times I found the back stories of some of the characters a touch unnecessary, but as the story progressed, I realized its need.
To conclude my review, I would say that Mr. Seymour, one of the finest writers in crime and thriller genre, has given us another masterpiece from his plausible imagination and a lot of experience. ‘The Outsiders’ is slow on reading, but is high on the reader’s engagement in the story. His characters are not perfect and are really close to the real world. With an intelligent plot and highly cohesive narration, I recommend this book to every reader who wants to read an absorbing story with almost no flaws!