EXCERPT: She gave a slight start as a door slammed somewhere in the depths of the building. Not everyone was asleep. A light came on downstairs, throwing a broad wedge of light out across the snow on the terrace. Something was moving down there, something dark and huddled that froze as it was caught in the sudden light. The shadow of a man fell away from the house, long and thin. A face turned up towards the window, sickly pale, whiter than snow. Tania did not move. It was a face she knew, a face in which she saw a reflection of her own fear. Eyes in which she recognized the same hunted look she had seen in the Rue de Pavie. Then the light went out and she could no longer see him, but knew he was still there. And knew, too, that he had come for her.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: There are two men on their way to Brussels from the UK: Neil Bannerman, an iconoclastic journalist for Scotland’s Daily Standard whose irate editor wants him out of the way, and Kale–a professional assassin.
Expecting to find only a difficult, dreary political investigation in Belgium, Bannerman has barely settled in when tragedy strikes. His host, a fellow journalist, along with a British Cabinet minister, are discovered dead in the minister’s elegant Brussels townhouse. It appears that they have shot each other. But the dead journalist’s young autistic daughter, Tania, was hidden in a closet during the killings, and when she draws a chilling picture of a third party–a man with no face–Bannerman suddenly finds himself a reluctant participant in a desperate murder investigation.
As the facts slowly begin to emerge under Bannerman’s scrutiny, he comes to suspect that the shootings may have a deep and foul link with the rotten politics that brought him to Brussels in the first place. And as Kale threatens to strike again, Bannerman begins to feel a change within himself. His jaded professionalism is transforming into a growing concern for the lonely and frightened Tania, and a strong attraction to a courageous woman named Sally–drawing him out of himself and into the very heart of a profound, cold-blooded, and infinitely dangerous conspiracy.
MY THOUGHTS: This is the second book I have read by this author in a short period of time. Peter May is a man who paints pictures, gloriously detailed pictures, with words. I could ‘see’ as I read. And although I did not enjoy this story as much as my previous read by this author, the writing remains superb.
This book was first published in 1981 as Hidden Faces but, having read it, I think The Man With No Face a far better title.
It seems odd to me to classify The Man With No Face, set in the winter of 1979 in Brussels, as historical fiction, but it is set in very different times from which we live today. There are no mobile phones, or computers, much less Internet. Airport security is lax compared with present times. Milk bottles are still put out on doorsteps, and secretaries use typewriters, take messages and make coffee. South Africa is still in the grip of apartheid, and Zimbabwe is still known as Rhodesia.
This story kept me turning pages for the most part until almost the end, when my interest waned a little. But only a little.
THE AUTHOR: Peter May (born 20 December 1951) is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He is the recipient of writing awards in Europe and America. The Blackhouse won the U.S. Barry Award for Crime Novel of the Year and the national literature award in France, the CEZAM Prix Litteraire. The Lewis Man won the French daily newspaper Le Télégramme’s 10,000-euro Grand Prix des Lecteurs. In 2014, Entry Island won both the Deanston’s Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and the UK’s ITV Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year Award. May’s books have sold more than two million copies in the UK and several million internationally. (WIKIPEDIA)
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Quercus Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Man With No Face by Peter May for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my Goodreads.com page https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2619713217