Friday 16 May 2014

Review ~ The Midnight Swimmer by Edward Wilson.

Title: The Midnight Swimmer.
Author: Edward Wilson.
Genre: Espionage.
Release Date: November 12, 2011.
Source: Bought.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon

Spawned in the bleak poverty of an East Anglian fishing port, Catesby is a spy with a big anti-establishment chip on his shoulder. He loves his country, but despises the class who run it. Loathed by the Americans and trusted by the Russians, Catesby is sent to Havana and Washington to make clandestine contacts.

London has authorised Catesby to offer Moscow a secret deal to break the Cuban Missile Crisis deadlock. But before that can happen, Catesby meets the Midnight Swimmer who has a chilling message for Washington. Once again, the author poses the fundamental question that few spy novelists answer: What is the greater crime? Betraying your country or betraying the person you love? A triangle of love and death that began in Berlin ends in Cuba. On one corner is a war disabled KGB general, on another corner is his unfulfilled wife…

This sophisticated novel is full of twists and turns that merge historical fact with fiction. Sleaze and high politics literally share the same beds. A white-knuckle superpower standoff is played out against a backdrop of honey trap blackmail, Mafia contracts, assassination and Vatican scandal. The real blurs into the surreal as Che car surfs on the Havana seafront and Fidel takes the pitcher’s mound against a professional baseball team.

The Midnight Swimmer is the continuation of Edward Wilson’s class espionage series and the striking cover is not the only remarkable thing about this book. Each book in this series has been an improvement on the one that came before, which considering they’ve all been brilliantly written, is a good sign. I was glad to see the return of Catesby in this book and his character went from strength to strength in The Midnight Swimmer, which with its outstanding prose, was Edward Wilson’s best yet.

The plot, like Wilson’s others, is a little cynical and full of strong historical links. The Midnight Swimmer has a combination of real life personalities such as JFK and fictional characters too. It all makes a fascinating story, one you know is fiction and yet is so plausible and convincing, you have to second guess it for a moment. The humour in this novel stood out for me too, like the reason why Marilyn Monroe sang happy birthday to JFK and other moments where Wilson’s effective wit was used.

I loved the strong characters, the patriotism, the historical background, the dialogue and a lot more too. There’s just so much to like about The Midnight Swimmer from an author who simply gets better and better. That Wilson writes novels in a genre I rarely pick up and makes me love them leaves me in awe. The Midnight Swimmer is a stunning novel written by a fantastic author and I have to recommend this book because it would be a waste for Wilson’s talent to go unrecognised.

Review also posted on Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon

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