Fearless to act

Book review by Sebastian Lim

Title: Fearless

Author: M.W. Craven

Publisher: Constable

ISBN: 9780349135601

Ben Koenig is in a hotel restaurant when he realises that the police are onto him. It’s too late for him to run out the back. Besides, his keen observation tells him that the police have set up a cordon several blocks around him.

A quick glance at the TV also tells him that the whole nation has been put on alert as his face is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, and the local authorities are about to bring him in.

While his training would allow him to swiftly disarm his captors and escape, his curiosity, however, makes him comply with the arrest. Thing is, Koenig isn’t a criminal. Someone important has clearly pulled a lot of strings to initiate a national manhunt to find him after his six years on the run. Koenig wants to know who and also why.

His questions are swiftly answered in a small town jail cell, when his former boss in the Special Operations Group of the US Marshals shows up to debrief him. Mitchell Burridge had fought hard to keep Koenig on active duty even after a head injury sidelined him on the job. Mitch is still sore that Koenig just up and disappeared instead of asking for help with the problem that caused him to give up his previous life.

Tagged with a $5 million bounty for killing the son of a Russian crime boss, Koenig faked his own death and went off the grid for six years, before he’s found and asked to find Mitch’s daughter, Martha. And in the event that she’s killed, to punish her abductors.

Martha’s disappearance and the death of her Georgetown professor have something to do with the research she was doing into a mysterious solar energy company in Texas’ Chihuahuan Desert. The company founder’s best friend has also died in a recent rock climbing accident.

Incidentally, the business is a cover for a criminal operation.

Those who often dismissed Koenig as just another drifter now are about to find out what a truly fearless man is capable of. Because Koenig’s coming for them.

English author Craven’s first series novel set in the US following his British Washington Poe mysteries gets off to a strong start. But the unwinding of the plot doesn’t always make sense.

Much like his fictional predecessor Jack Reacher, Koenig starts out as a lonely drifter whose startling capacity for violence belies a keen mind and lively wit.

Filled with twists, turns and healthy doses of humour, this action-packed thriller is an adrenaline ride from start to finish. Koenig himself is a fascinating protagonist humanised not only by his reversals of fortune, but also by his relationships with the people around him.

A fast-moving and suspenseful series debut that holds much promises for thriller fans.

Review copy compliments of definitely books by Pansing.

Sebastian Lim is an experienced journalist and editor who now runs his own book review blog — coolreadsseb.blogspot.com. The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent that of The Weekly-Echo.