It's a crime! (Or a mystery…)

Trust No One – Alex Walters

Alex Walters is the new pen-name for Michael Walters, the author of the critically acclaimed Nergui novels – a series of crime thrillers set in modern-day Mongolia.  Trust No One is the first in a new series about Marie Donovan, an undercover officer.  Donovan is a cop, but in Trust No One we find her working for ‘the Agency’, never specifically referred to in the novel as the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), but clearly based on it.

In Manchester, Donovan has become a little too close to Jake Morton, an informer she recruited, about to give evidence against crime lord Jeff Kerridge.  So close in fact that she has just left his bed in the early hours and is sitting on the balcony of his flat with a decaff coffee.  Having nodded off for a short time, she wakes to discover three professional hit men in the flat and quickly escapes down the outside of the building.  With Morton confirmed dead, Donovan knows her situation is compromised and her handlers know there is a leak from their side, so who can she trust?

Walters cleverly plays with the timeframes here, opening with Morton’s demise but then taking us into the story of how Donovan got to be where she is when we meet her in that flat before moving the story forward.  It’s all action and adrenaline from the first pages in Trust No One, but depth is added by opening up Donovan’s world and her mind to the reader (with perhaps a little too much of the mind on times).  However, we have a great dollop of realism with Donovan as she constantly copes with the stresses of her fictional life as a printing business owner, the need to obtain and pass on intelligence, and her private and real life with an artist partner suffering from MS whom she supports.  There is always the sense that this has been meticulously researched and based on true fact.  It’s also refreshingly good to add to the canon of crime fiction with an undercover officer and a plot based on money laundering, albeit the latter would have benefited from more detail in the plot to add to the sense of involvement and understanding.

Trust No One is a very promising start to a new series delivering a character you want to spend more time with.  It’s an absorbing and attention-demanding read for these cool autumn nights.

Links: author site; new author blog; novel at Amazon in PB and Kindle format; novel at Waterstone’s.

Also note that the author has an event coming up on 27 September.

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15 comments on “Trust No One – Alex Walters

  1. yvonne
    September 15, 2011

    Hi Rhian,

    Great review of a fantastic sounding book.

    This is yet another new to me author, but another one that I shall be checking out very soon.

    My TBR shelves are already groaning under the strain and I can hear them protesting about the addition of yet more books!!!

    • crimeficreader
      September 15, 2011

      Thanks Yvonne. I hope you enjoy it when you get around to it. My shelves have become piles on the floor by now…

  2. Marisa
    September 15, 2011

    Well, I think I’m hooked on the premise. Sounds really good, even if half of my to-read is already crime fic. Oh well, what’s one more? 😉

    • crimeficreader
      September 15, 2011

      This would be a more original ‘one more’, Marisa! I hope you enjoy it!

      • Marisa
        September 15, 2011

        Always like to find something original. Especially with the prevalence of crime fiction lately, a lot of them look the same.

        • crimeficreader
          September 16, 2011

          I so agree. Too much derivative and copy stuff being published on ‘safe’ grounds of ‘if it’s sold, we’ll do more of this’. And lots of it is so unoriginal.

  3. Margot Kinberg
    September 16, 2011

    Rhian – Lovely review as ever! It does sound very much like a promising start!

  4. Mike/Alex Walters
    September 16, 2011

    Sincere thanks for the very generous review, Rhian. Glad that you enjoyed it more than ‘The Body Farm’!

    • crimeficreader
      September 16, 2011

      That is a standard distribution curve well-travelled along the east/west axis, have no doubt.

  5. Dónall
    September 16, 2011

    Good review, Rhian, though not as entertaining as your review of The Body Farm! I must give Walters a try – though I might start with the ones set in Mongolia. I would be interested to hear your opinion of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union sometime.

  6. Pingback: Michael Walters's Blog

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This entry was posted on September 15, 2011 by in Book Review, Books and tagged , , .