Thursday, 27 October 2016

The Heat of Betrayal by Douglas Kennedy

Kennedy has made a name for himself writing thrillers about women in desperate circumstances, so I knew I would be in for a roller-coaster of a read when I picked up his latest novel, The Heat of Betrayal. It is the story of Robin, who with one desultory marriage behind her, is smitten when she meets Paul, an artist some years her senior. She helps him with his accounts because he’s profligate with money, despite holding an academic post and selling his art to connoisseurs.

The couple marry and eventually travel to Morocco where Paul lived in his twenties, a place that inspired some of his best work. He hopes to rekindle his talent, while Robin hopes for a baby, but an email from New York destroys Robin’s trust in Paul. He’s a volatile personality and suddenly disappears, threatening suicide and causing the police to suspect Robin of foul play.

The rest of the book is a kind of cross-Morocco game of cat and mouse, Robin trying to find her fragile husband before it’s too late. She is thrown into some horrendous situations, while stories of Paul’s past come to the surface. Meanwhile the authorities close in on Robin, and she has to rely on the kindness of strangers to survive.

The book is everything the back-cover reviews promise: heart-stopping twists, a page turner that makes you think and so on. While it isn’t great literature, it is sure-handed, and the character of Robin is sympathetic enough to engage the reader’s interest. On top of which, Kennedy has created some marvellous Moroccan atmosphere, and with all that sand about, this has to be the ultimate beach read.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Heat of Betrayal

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