Official Secrets was officially one of my favourite thriller series of 2020. It totally lived up to the hype (Line of Duty meets I Am Pilgrim). So when I heard the best-selling author was embarking on a new spy-thriller series I couldn’t wait to start reading this first instalment; Kill Day …
‘If half of what Andrew Raymond writes about is true we live in a very scary world.‘
Praise for Andrew Raymond
what it says on the cover …
Meet MI6 operative Duncan Grant as he hunts a legendary spy gone rogue.
Grant is the agency’s most talented rookie, with a reputation for maverick brilliance. When a routine operation ends in murder, Grant is tasked with capturing the assassin: rogue MI6 officer Henry Marlow – a man who has ripped up the espionage rule book.
But as Grant leads the hunt, Marlow’s renegade mission escalates, targeting anyone who could expose his secrets. If Grant wants to stop him, he must uncover a shadowy plot that links a Saudi prince, a corrupt Interpol detective, and an infamous black ops programme.
With the very future of MI6 at stake, Grant must confront Marlow in a terrifying endgame – after which nothing will be the same again.
The epic journey starts here.
PUBLISHED: 7th April 2021
SHELF: Thriller | Spy | Action
AUTHOR: Andrew Raymond
PUBLISHER: Independently published
FORMATS: Paperback | Kindle
‘Talking is supposed to cure everything these days. Feeling low? Life not going in the direction you want it to? Just talk about it. Open up. Get it off your chest. You don’t want me doing that. Trust me. The scariest thing you’ll notice when someone asks you to talk about your feelings is when you realise you might not have any.‘
my review …
Having been utterly hooked by Tom Novak and Stella Mitchell in the Official Secrets novels, I’ll openly admit I was initially rather glum when I first learned that Andrew’s latest book wasn’t going to be a new addition to this cracking series. But my sulk was short-lived … just a few pages in to the first chapter of Kill Day and I was swept up into a whole new world of the author’s making. And what a superbly pacy, thrilling world this one shaped up to be.
When an operation to secure some extremely sensitive files from Interpol detective Claude Pinot goes irretrievably wrong, MI6 agent Duncan Grant finds himself alone in the field, and engaged in a high-stakes cat and mouse game with one of MI6’s most lethal rogue agents, Henry Marlow. But unlike the consummately experienced Marlow, Grant is still a rookie … a talented, determined one, but relatively untested nonetheless.
Grant has the remote back-up of Leo Winston, head of the European Task Force, and his tech-savvy team of analysts based in the iconic Vauxhall Cross MI6 headquarters, but as his mission takes him into increasingly dangerous territory, a power struggle between Winston and Imogen Swann, Director of Anticorruption, could jeopardise everything.
Kill Day is an adrenaline-fuelled, well-paced thriller that’s unafraid to draw on some provocative scenarios, and instantly recognisable job titles, to give this novel a compelling true-to-life intrigue. As the book progresses it becomes clear how much of a danger the file contents pose to British politics and national security, threatening to destabilising the UK’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. Allegiances are tenuous and can change in a blink, pitching Grant into the crossfire between two ruthlessly determined factions.
In my interview with the author last week, Andrew mentioned influences including Spooks, Bond, Bourne, and Reacher. The inspirations are clear to see, and yet Kill Day is more than up to the task of holding its own amongst such lauded spy-thrillers with a strong and distinctive identity. It upholds all the qualities I’ve come to enjoy from Andrew Raymond’s novels; relentless pace, authentic dialogue, vividly dynamic scenarios, misdirection and double-crossing, and a truly admirable degree of detail.
The plot propels the Duncan Grant on a global race, carrying the reader from an open-air opera in Lyon, to the affluence of the Hamptons, before darting into the hostile isolation of northern Estonia. And when Grant finds himself in the murderous, militia-controlled jungles of Congo, there were times when the deceptively quiet streets of Riverside Walk on the banks of the Thames appeared to be just as deadly. The author writes climactic scenes with such clarity that I often find myself believing he’d relocated his desk and laptop to write from the very heart of the action.
Duncan Grant is a very likeable new character. As I progressed through Kill Day I was introduced to a talented young agent who’s at the very start of his career for MI6. His determination and intuition make him a valuable asset, but when he’s pitched against men such as Marlow with decades of experience, it makes for an higher-risk scenario than the polished skill of Bond and Bourne. Marlow has been written with excellent flair, manipulating Grant (and the reader) throughout the story as to his motivation and threat level. Grant’s handler, Leo Winston, is also a promising character – we don’t get to know him quite as well as we do Grant, but he’s definitely got more to give, and I suspect the author has plenty of character development for both him and Grant as the series expands.
One of my favourite aspects of Andrew’s novels is the remarkable depth of research reflected in his writing. Whilst the stories are works of fiction, I’ve no doubt there are hefty swathes of factual basis woven through them. For example, Kill Day hits one of my particularly obsessive sweet-spots when it draws briefly on the rich seam of Russian subterfuge. I was rather excited when I spotted the Interpol Red Notice system make an early appearance, and then a ex-Soviet closed city in Estonia was thrown into the storyline, so I had to make a little detour via Google to find out a little more about these secretive, totally real, locations.
I ended the book the feeling like I’ve not only experienced a cracking adventure, and also with the excited certainty that Kill Day is the start of another superb series.
Thank you to Andrew for sending me an electronic ARC of Kill Day in return for an honest, impartial review.
Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved telling stories…
I’ve been a fan of thrillers ever since watching All the President’s Men when I was far too young to understand what was going on. Now every day I get to indulge in my passion for fast-paced stories, characters you really care about, and to bring you behind the scenes of the intelligence agencies and the most secretive parts of the political world (the parts they don’t want you to know about).
It’s often said in my reviews that I write cinematically, which isn’t a coincidence, as my influences are as much in cinema as literature: Daniel Craig’s Bond films, Glengarry Glen Ross, Spartan. TV has also been a major factor in my writing. From the original BBC miniseries State of Play, David Simon’s The Wire, and Aaron Sorkin, writer of The West Wing; and the US version of House of Cards.
After a spell being traditionally published, I decided to go it alone with my Novak and Mitchell series. I love being in control of everything that’s put out there, from the direction of book cover design to marketing and website design.
I have worked in the book industry since I was 21.
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