Soho, Apr 2008, $24.95
A desperate Jaime Segura holds a gun on several hostages at the South Oxford Nursery School. One of them teacher Louise Kenney thinks he looks no more than nineteen even with the weapon as she realizes her earlier Incident seems so minor. A parent Eliot Pedlar tries to calm down his three-year-old twins weeping Timmy and Gordon, but with little success as the “Gun” seems so menacing. Then there is the cleaner to round out the prisoners.
However Jaime may be a foreigner, but he is not a terrorist. In fact he is as frightened if not more so than those he retains. His lover Miro has vanished along with 250 million pounds stolen from the Secret Service; money intended for Iraq. Meanwhile two agents tried to kidnap Jaime; all he could think of was to escape before rendition. The police surround the school asking Jaime for his demands and to free the innocent. Jaime surprises everyone insisting he will talk only with M16 accountant Ben Whistler who worked with Miro in the office. Louise knows this will end badly for everyone inside the nursery school, but she assumes Jaime is the cause instead of those outside waiting to silence all those inside to insure there are no witnesses especially the teen with the gun.
This is a great one sitting suspense tale filled with plausible yet stunning twists as nothing proves to be like it seems. Readers will feel they are claustrophobically locked inside with the hostages and the Gun while wondering who outside wants this to end tragically. Mick Herron provides an exhilarating taut thriller that will land on most short lists for one of the best of the year.