Ash Carter and Bill Wolfe are in Israel hunting a group of British Army deserters known as the Killing Crew. Some people think they were a myth, others believe they were the most hated of British soldiers.
In the newly formed state that’s at war with the Arab nations, hated by Jews and despised by Arabs, the two SIB officers think they face an uncomfortable task.
But when they become targets they realise this is more than just a job. It’s life or death.
My thoughts: this was an interesting and gripping thriller, set in the newly independent state of Israel, just after the British handed it over to self-govern. Things are deeply dysfunctional in many ways, there’s a lot of derelict buildings, people are poor and criminal gangs shake people down. Ash Carter is doing his best, but few like or trust the British and he’s not sure who to trust, even Wolfe seems to be behaving suspiciously.
They’ve been given a task, complicated by the fact that not all deserters are considered their jurisdiction, and the lack of information they have access to. They’ve got to identify the men behind the attacks, if they even exist, and then run them to ground, without officially being able to carry any weapons and with checkpoints everywhere.
Ash also manages to get mixed up with some loan shark thugs and has their gang on his tail, making it harder to work out who it is that’s chasing them, gangsters or dangerous terrorists. They’re aided by the very capable secretary Sylvia Rom – who definitely can do a lot more than type up the minutes of their meetings, and a young soldier with an old actor’s name – Albert Finney.
I’ve never been to Israel (although my mum was there for a bit in the late 70s) and I don’t know a huge amount about the period after WW2 there, but the sense of danger and menace is compelling. There’s a lawlessness to the desert and the gangs of deserters and unhappy factions that bring to mind other countries at different times and Ash, always a proper British gent, often seems to be the last good man. And he gets the girl, or in this case, the landlady!
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.