Review: TARGET ZERO by Tony Riches, published by Head of Zeus

I have just finished TARGET ZERO, which is the second in the superb The Protector series by Tony Riches. 

Please check my last post for a review of NEMESIS, the first in this series.

In this second book, Michael Bale, now no longer a policeman, has returned from a year-long escape to Thailand. He lost his job at the end of NEMESIS, and at the same time lost his wife and home. He is a free agent now, and wondering what to do with the rest of his life. 

An old friend from the Met bullies him into getting himself a job, and he finds himself taking on a close protection posting with a very wealthy man. I don’t know whether Tony has a crystal ball when he starts plotting his books, but let’s just say that the client is Russian, and has some very dodgy friends.

The story begins with mind-blowing action when a van-load of Jihadi terrorists are stopped by armed police on their way to commit an atrocity in London. But as the police move closer to arrest the men, one detonates a bomb – and not an ordinary bomb. This is a “sunburn”, a type used in Russian warheads. Like fuel air explosive, it goes off like several kilotons of dynamite. 

A contact of Bale’s has moved into the secret service, and he briefs Bale. The bomb is, the service believes, only one of several that have been smuggled into the UK. Russia is determined to repay the UK for its antagonism in recent years. The UK is at the cutting edge of sanctions against Russia since the invasion of the Crimea, and especially since the attempted murder of Skripal, the ex-Russian spy. So Russian has brought these bombs into the UK and have groomed terrorists to set them off and cause maximum devastation in London and elsewhere. 

Tony Riches is a writer who can bring men of action to life better than any modern author. He is also a superb at characterisation of others caught up in the mayhem. His plots are superb – convincing, fabulously plotted, and with a cast of characters who are invariably brilliantly depicted. I was glad to see that this time the crime gangs of London returned to create some dangerous tension for Bale as he goes about his duties – both as a close protection officer and spy.

This is one of those books that make you want to buy the next in the series as soon as you put it down. I defy you to put it down!

Highly recommended!

2 Responses to “Review: TARGET ZERO by Tony Riches, published by Head of Zeus”
  1. Si Hartgroves says:

    THOROUGHLY enjoyed Target Zero (although the wristwatch fetish left me a little cold). Excellent plotting, backed up by solid research, and a frenetic pace with no let-up. I’ll definitely be buying other Anthony Riches books.


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