The Palace (Simon Riske #3), by Christopher Reich

Nine stars

Ready for another harrowing adventure in the world of espionage, I turn to Christopher Reich and his newest series. The action does not stop and Reich weaves together an intricate tale in which his protagonist shows his true mettle. Simon Riske enjoys his life as a mechanic and restorer of expensive vehicles in London, though when MI5 call for him, he is usually quick to reply. However, after his partner is seriously injured at the end of his most recent mission, Riske tosses in the towel and refuses to work for the seedy underbelly of the British Government. Then, a man of some importance casts a shadow on his mechanic shop with a mission for him. Rafael de Bourbon, ‘Rafa’, is in trouble in Thailand and needs Riske’s help. Rafa once saved Riske’s life and cannot turn down the mission. It would seem Rafa is being detained by the National Police and has been rotting in a Bangkok jail. When Riske arrives, he tries to negotiate the release of his friend, learning that Rafa stole a large chunk of highly sensitive data from PetroSaud a powerful trading company with extremely deep pockets. During the transfer of documents for Rafa’s freedom, something goes horribly wrong and Riske is accused of murder. Now, on the run, Riske must not only try to stay one step ahead of the Thai officials, but determine what Rafa found and how his leaking of the files to a print journalist could be extremely dangerous for all involved. As the hunt intensifies, Riske finds himself travelling across Asia. PetroSaud has a ruthless mercenary with only one purpose, to neutralise Riske once and for all. If only that were the biggest issue he uncovers. These are no longer the rough streets of Marseilles, where Riske learned everything about unfair fights, but rather a period when the world may be rocked to its core. A stunning novel that will keep the reader hooked until the very end. Recommended to those who love tales of espionage, as well as the reader who considers themselves a great fan of Christopher Reich.

There is so much to enjoy in this piece, not the least of which that Christopher Reich is at the helm. His ability to craft a realistic story is paired with settings across the world. At times, the reader must grip something to stay upright throughout this piece. Simon Riske is back for another scintillating ride, pulling in some of his past friends alongside some new faces. While there is some mention of his backstory, much of the book focuses on his development and attempts to fight for what he feels is right. Riske shows moments of extreme compassion, particularly in the opening segment of the book, but his grit is not something to be discounted either, as he fights to the death to protect those close to him. Many of the secondary characters receive a wonderful depiction through the eyes of Reich, who differentiates them from one another and keeps the reader entertained throughout. The story was masterful and the action pushed the narrative along in ways I have not seen in books of late. Reich has shown that he is a master and seems skilled with most anything he pens. I can hope that this book (the entire series, actually) will garner a new wave of fans, who can then look back to find some of his older work as well. Now, to see what’s next on the agenda… though patience is key!

Kudos, Mr. Reich, for another winner. To say I was riveted would be an understatement.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: