Next in Line (William Warwick #5) , by Jeffrey Archer

Eight stars

Always eager to get my hands on anything by Jeffrey Archer, I devoured the latest book in the William Warwick series. Archer has Warwick offer more insight into the wonders of British policing in the late 1980s, climbing the ranks on his way to the ultimate promotion. Warwick has his hands full with this one, showing how versatile he can be, alongside his team, as they face some of their most daunting work to date. Archer proves that he’s got many ideas to share and I hope he’s able to finish this series before laying down his pen.

It’s 1988 and Britain is in the middle of their love affair with Diana, the People’s Princess. While many in the Royal Family prefer to keep a low profile, Diana attracts the flashbulb like none before her. This nothing new, but something is on the horizon, lowing the tabloids to feast on all the crumbs tossed their way.

With all the hype, Scotland Yard and the Met will have to ensure they are ready for the heightened security issues that await them as they guard Diana’s every move. While the Royal Protection Command is tasked with keeping the royals safe, there appear to be some issues, which could prove disastrous. Detective Chief Inspector William Warwick brings his team along to investigate the Command, trying to root out those bad apples who are more concerned with padding their pockets than jumping in front of a bullet.

While Warwick sends one of his most trusted detectives to protect Diana, there’s much to be done to keep the peace. As Diana rushes all over with her newest paramour, someone is planning something that could turn Britain, and the world, on its head. Trying to keep the peace so the general public is unaware, Warwick will have to diffuse the plot before things get out of hand.

All the while, one of Warwick’s old nemeses is working through some legal issues all his own, wrestling for control as he seeks to get the upper hand on Scotland Yard. However, there are many others who have equally conniving plans that could stymie an open and shut case, leaving many to wonder what the future holds. With a handful of other Warwicks and a few retuning faces, Archer dazzles in this latest story that advances the plot and heads towards the ultimate finale.

I have long admired the work of Jeffrey Archer, which mixes an intensity alongside something highly entertaining. This series, which has a unique angle known well to those who loved Archer’s Clifton Chronicles collection, never ceases to amaze me and keeps things speeding along with strong plot, sensational storytelling, and a cast of characters who use actual historical events as a great backdrop to deepen their own presence. I can only hope there is enough time to get this series to its ultimate ending, which I know will be worth the wait.

Archer knows storytelling and has pulled me in on many an occasion with his flights of fancy and historical perspectives. A strong narrative guides the reader throughout a great deal in short order, never stopping long enough for the reader to catch their proverbial breath. A cast of characters that improves and deepens with each passing book offers the reader something they can enjoy, complaining progress and recession throughout the novels. A set of well-honed plot lines keeps the story electric and provides some forks in the narrative progression, keeping the reader on the edge of their seats throughout. I can only hope the intensity continues as the book continues, rocketing towards the ending Archer has in mind.

Kudos, Mr. Archer, for another winner I could not stop reading. How you have such control over me!