Tuesday 3 November 2020

Force of Evil (Charles Holborne Legal Thriller Book 6) - Simon Michael

London, 1965

After a series of successful cases, Charles Holborne’s reputation is on the rise.

He is asked to work pro bono to represent a widow in a recent accidental death case.

The deceased was a Sergeant Maynard, an RAF policeman who worked at the Cardington base in Bedfordshire.

It seems his death was the result of a tragic motorcycle collision, but Mrs Maynard insists her husband was murdered.

Though sceptical at first, Charles soon realises she could be right.

And as he delves further, he realises that the RAF base could be the centre of a much bigger criminal undertaking…

As rifts in the corrupt Metropolitan Police are revealed, and the threats to Charles and those he loves escalate, he begins to wonder — has he finally bitten off more than he can chew?

FORCE OF EVIL is the sixth crime novel in an exciting historical series, the Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers — gritty, hard-boiled mysteries set in 1960s London. 

What did I think?

The Charles Holborne Legal Thrillers is a series I just can't get enough of and I couldn't wait to catch up with barrister Charles Holborne in the sixth instalment, Force of Evil, to see what scrapes he gets himself into this time.  This is a book that you could definitely read as a standalone as Simon Michael brilliantly touches on a few elements from previous books so any new Charles Holborne readers won't feel like they're missing something and fans of the series will be reminded of certain events.

It was only 4 years ago that I read The Brief (the first book in the Charles Holborne series) and said that it was BritCrime at it's very best.  Well, BritCrime just got better!  Force of Evil is simply outstanding.  Not only does Charles have an intriguing case to defend, but he has so much going on in his personal life that it's a wonder he isn't dizzy.  

Charles takes on a pro bono case when he is contacted by the widow of an RAF serviceman; the death appears to be an accident but a secret RAF investigation into the incident shows that there is more to it than meets the eye.  As Charles and his Irish policeman friend start to dig into Sergeant Maynard's death, they unwittingly put themselves and their loved ones in danger as someone wants to silence them at any cost.

If you've read any of the Charles Holborne series before, you'll know that Charles has a complicated love life and an even more complicated relationship with his mother.  Charles realises that he made a mistake letting Sally go and I love that he starts writing letters to her, sharing stories from his day in the hope of rekindling their romance.  I really have my fingers crossed for this couple.  Charles' mother isn't as much of a battleaxe as we're used to in Force of Evil as her health is starting to fail.  Millie may not have been the best mother but Charles remains the devoted son as he and his brother David do all that they can to help their parents.

The Charles Holborne series is going from strength to strength and long may it continue.  Simon Michael is a storyteller extraordinaire, fully immersing the reader in 1960's London through his riveting, enthralling and beautifully descriptive writing.  The courtroom scenes written by Simon Michael remain the best I've ever read as the reader sees all aspects of the trial through Charles Holborne's eyes.

As with the other Charles Holborne thrillers, Force of Evil is based on a true story and that is what makes it quite extraordinary.  Simon Michael brings these long forgotten events to light through his magnificent storytelling and yet again produces an unputdownable book.  This could be Charles Holborne's trickiest case yet as he is pitted against those who are meant to uphold the law.  

Riveting, gripping and breathtaking, Force of Evil is a stunning novel that had my heart racing and my palms sweating as the threats and danger increased.  Force of Evil isn't just unputdownable, it's completely unmissable; this is crime writing at its finest.
I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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