Simon Riske, the principal character in Christopher Reich’s latest novel, has had a checkered past, to say the least. This includes imprisonment and the spending of months in solitary confinement as punishment for refusing to divulge information sought by the police.
Out of prison, he currently owns a garage in London, specializing in expensive limited edition cars. He does have another occupation which involves acting as a freelance industrial spy. He is hired to perform small scale jobs for banks, insurance companies and the British Secret Service.
The action starts when he is hired by the CIA to look into the matter of a lot of money and a confidential letter stolen by an old acquaintance of Riske’s: one Tino Colluzzi . Colluzzi stole a huge amount of cash from a Saudi Arabian prince and with it a letter hidden in a suitcase that is supposed to have the power to upset the balance of power in the western world.
Riske accepts the job to look into the matter of the theft of money and the letter when he learns that Colluzzi was the thief. Tino was once Riske’s friend and ally until Simon took the full rap for a crime both committed with Colluzzi getting away without any punishment.
Simon’s first stop is going to France, the scene of the crime, where he is matched up against his will with a female French police officer, Nicolette Perez, who has been assigned against her will to work with Simon and keep him on the straight and narrow. Nicolette is a tough, no holds barred police officer whose only interest seems to be in doing her job as best as she can. She also happens to be a pretty girl and it is no surprise that sparks fly between the two in the course of their joint investigation in spite of initial antagonism.
Another member of the cast involved is a Russian female assassin who is assigned to kill Riske at all costs and goes about trying to complete this assignment with a great deal of skill and dedication. The novel uses all these factors in a fascinating story of spy versus spy. What is in the letter that seemingly has the power to upset the balance of western power? Is the cash recovered? An all nighter it certainly is and does leave the reader with the definite feeling that this is the first of several novels featuring Riske. Look forward to that.
1/18 Paul Lane
THE TAKE by Christopher Reich. Mulholland Books (January 16, 2018). ISBN 978-1681776163. 400p.