Monday, September 5, 2016

Book review: Touchstone - Laurie R King

Title: Touchstone

Author: Laurie R King


Genre: Thriller. 

Amazon link:

Star rating: 7.0 out of 10.0

Buy: Maybe

Borrow: Yes

Summary: We are taken to a remote cottage in Cornwall to visit to a recluse code-named Touchstone, once studied by British intelligence for his para-normal sensitivity to the world's turmoil. He is Captain Bennett Grey.

Harris Stuyvesant, American Bureau of Investigation agent, has come to Britain to uncover a suspected Briton, Bunsen, who has thrice tried to set off explosive devices in the US, and needs Grey’s help. 

Main review: 

Grey was introduced to Stuyvesant by a Major Aldous Carstairs who heads a clandestine government unit that Stuyvesant found in London by dint of hard searching.

Laurie King spends 74 pages establishing the personality of Grey and of Stuyvesant through a lot of introspection, all at this remote cottage.

The pace of  changes dramatically as they spend Friday-to-Monday at a stately manor in Gloucestershire belonging to the Hurleighs, a noble family, that dates back to the Norman invasion.  The eldest daughter, Laura,  is known to be a lover of the suspect. Grey is a family friend and Stuyvesant poses as a Ford salesman Grey met when Stuyvesant got lost in Cornwall. I guess it was before the term 'used car salesman' was used pejoratively.

Harris is strongly attracted to Sarah, Grey’s sister, who happens to be a good friend of Laura. 

There is a secret meeting planned of the miners, mine owners and government reps including the PM at Hurleigh manor to try and head off a general strike that would do no good to either the miners or the nation as a whole.  But Cartstairs discovers that a cache of gelignite goes missing and suspects that this meeting could be the target.

Harris manages to inveigh himself as Bunsen’s driver and bodyguard. His aim is two-fold: to find and disarm the bomb and to uncover Bunsen’s role in all this.

The pace then picks up. There are various twists and turns and some misdirection. In the end it wasn't Bunsen who was the bomber but someone else altogether. But the bomb is discovered, only too late as it kills the bomber. The story doesn't end yet as there is another bomb, but I will say no more so as not to spoil the ending for the reader.

Suspense almost right to the very end.

Further reading suggestion: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice -

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