Book #86

Where is Tony Blunt? by Joseph Mitcham

Has the hornets’ nest been kicked too hard? Having taken down some of the most dangerous members of the UK Terror Watch List – Alex is persuaded to return to help track down the unrelenting Islamist terror organisation ‘the Interest Group’ – Tony Blunt is the only lead.

Where is Tony Blunt? The apparently radicalised former Paratrooper has gone to ground without a trace. Alex finds himself at the heart of the effort to find him. Working with a multi-agency force to track him down, can they find Blunt before he executes his masterpiece?

I read the first novel in the Atrocities series, The Watch List, back in March, and was really impressed with Mitcham’s style. Although not something I’d normally gravitate towards, I was swept into a world of soldiers and terrorism, unable to look away.

The second book in the series picks up only a few weeks after the events in its predecessor come to a devastating finale. This time, we’re dealing with a single person, rather than a group; Tony Blunt, a radicalised member of the terror group who has previously served in the Army with some of our best-loved characters. He’s raising suspicions, and must be found before he ignites another catastrophic tragedy.

But Tony’s mission is ticking along nicely, and we’re given such a fast-paced race to stop him that my heart was in my throat for the entire second half. There’s so much tension, gore, unsettling moments, and sheer force that it feels impossible to stop reading.

I was most interested by Blunt’s situation and how he came to be there. Mitcham takes pains to describe how he was treated both in the army, and by his own family. He was seeking community and belonging, and found this in the wrong place. He’s an abhorrent character, but Mitcham very clearly portrays the events contributing to his radicalisation.

Again, my favourite thing about both of Mitcham’s books is being allowed into a world I never would be able to see otherwise. I was dazzled by the utter discipline and strategic sense of Mitcham’s ex-Army characters, alongside their ability to walk into anything in a fearless state, assessing risks as they go, and anticipating everything. Then there’s MI5; counter-terrorism, the gadgets and gizmos, the intelligence gathering, the strategy. It’s all so incredibly interesting and engaging; something us common folk have no hope of ever experiencing in our lifetimes.

An excellent follow-up novel to his debut, Mitcham has really turned up the pressure here. I can’t begin to imagine what will happen next, but I’m prepared for the next brutal chase.