A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.
Capital Punishment, by Robert Wilson (Orion UK):
Like so many other Rap Sheet readers, I suspect, I first encountered British author Wilson’s work in A Small Death in Lisbon, his extraordinary 1999 thriller about Nazi wartime shenanigans and slayngs in the Portuguese capital. That led me to investigate his previous four novels (beginning with 1994’s Instruments of Darkness), all starring a West African “fixer” named Bruce Medway. Then it was on to The Blind Man of Seville (a Spain-set mystery I included in January Magazine’s Best Books of 2003 feature) and its three sequels, which built around a troubled head of the Seville Police Department's homicide division, Inspector Jefe Javier Falcón--and inspired Sky Atlantic’s recent British TV drama, Falcón (see the trailer here). The Falcón books were quite popular. After four of them, however, Wilson “wanted to get away from the detective hero and the pure police procedural,” as he told the blog Crime Fiction Lover earlier this week. His solution was to pen Capital Punishment, the first installment in a new series featuring Charles Boxer, a British ex-homicide cop turned “freelance
kidnap consultant.” In these pages, we find Boxer and his quondam inamorata,
detective Mercy Danquah, hunting for Alyshia D’Cruz, the 25-year-old daughter
of a crooked but influential Indian businessman, who has vanished in London
after a night out on the town. I’m still reading Capital Punishment, so I can’t say how it all turns out. But I will tell you that the action shifts here from London to Lisbon to Mumbai, and sends Boxer up against religious zealots, assorted mobsters, and prospective terrorists. It doesn’t take Wilson’s protagonist long to realize that Alyshia’s abductors want something far better than money: they want power, and will stop at little to obtain it. American readers who don’t want to order the UK edition of Capital Punishment have only to wait until March for a U.S. release of this same book.
READ MORE: “London: Great Location to Set a Thriller,” by Robert Wilson (The Daily Telegraph).