Publication Date: October 2, 2016
In Rules for Revenge: A Declan McIver Novel (Black Shuck Thriller Series) by Ian Graham, after the thwarting a terrorist attack in which officials believe he was involved, Declan McIver is lying low with his pregnant wife. When bombs go off again, Declan is caught up in a plot that could expose him and his wife and jeopardize their safety. Can he, with the help of a secretive MI6 officer, stop the terrorists in time? Rules for Revenge is the second novel in the Black Shuck Thriller Series.
The author sent me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.
Declan McIver is once again attempting to live a quiet life when he’s pulled into a situation that he must either manage or face catastrophe. Like Daniel Silva, Gabriel Allon has a moral line that is erased when loved ones are put into play. In the case of Declan, he’s made especially vulnerable by his pregnant wife, a rarity in a genre that likes canning loners. There is a tender moment at the start of the book where McIver goes to great lengths to bring his wife her pet, a move sure to melt the hearts of dog lovers everywhere but it is perhaps a sign of a weakness that adversaries could exploit.
Graham hooks the reader from the start with a shadowy man in a bar and a mysterious ambush. We meet the missing MI5 agent Shane O’Reilly and are thrust into a shadow-world of conspiracy and intrigue. There’s a reason that Rules for Revenge stands at 575 pages and that reason is that Graham is a meticulous author. The story is organized and detailed without being weighty and slow. McIver believes he is being framed by people at the top level of government so when Shane, the main person that can testify on his behalf goes missing seemingly at the hands of terrorists, other witnesses begin to die and McIver really has no choice but to get involved. Graham paints his main character as a mostly a moral man not unwilling to bend the rules and one that readers will want to see get what he needs to live the quiet life he thinks he wants.
Another parallel between Graham and Silva is a love of setting. Both paint a picture in vivid detail: the dingy bar, the fresh Swiss air, the haunting graveyard. Each stop in the book is vibrant and easy to picture. Graham took me back to the breathtaking beauty of Lucerne and introduced the ancient streets surrounding the neighborhood local in Ireland. Equally as detailed as the setting are the characters the reader encounters. The background characters are all unique and while their motives may not be immediately apparent, there is a logical building a motivation and fleshing out of every person from the barkeeper to the baddie. What makes Graham truly exciting as an author is the risks he takes and is able to pull off. Brutality for its own sake is wearing but every move very carefully serves a building storyline that will leave the reader breathless.
Though Rules for Revenge is the second novel in the series, it can easily stand alone but to skip the wonderful Veil of Civility would be a true miss. Ian Graham stands for quality writing with his first two novels and to not read them in order is to miss a part of the story. Pick them up today.
Read an excerpt and buy Rules for Revenge: A Declan McIver Novel (Black Shuck Thriller Series) by Ian Graham on