The Last 10 Seconds – Simon Kernick

There is always a risk when reviewing thriller genre novels in my opinion – you inadvertently giveaway the plot without realising it and then there is no point in going to buy the book! That could easily happen with this book – so I am going to try my best but I have given you fair warning.

DI Tina Boyd is a detective that likes to detect, she does not want to be stuck behind the desk detecting paperwork, she wants to be on the ground and in the action. Even when she is  not meant to out on the ground, she gets involved  in the arrest of The Night Creeper – a man who has killed five women and has reigned London for two years. But something about the death of one of these women, does not add up to The Night Creeper, but when all the evidence points to him, is it better if Tina just lets it go and be happy with a result, even if it is not quite justice. If you know Tina then the answer is to fight to the bitter end for the correct result.

Sean Egan is used to the world of the criminal as well as the cop – he can do both successfully. Sean Egan is an undercover cop. Similar to Tina with his work ethic he wants to get to the truth and enjoys the work on the ground.  Justice is important, but Sean is carrying the burden of something happening to someone close to him. This is the justice he seeks, but do the boundaries of work and personal life become blurred and in this particular case has Sean got in too deep?

Two separate storylines, that you know are going to intertwine somewhere. They do and with some surprising results and whilst you need to keep your wits about you to follow all the different threads of the story, they weave together to a conclusion, that I did not necessarily see coming.

If you like pacy thrillers and don’t mind something that gets your heart racing, this could well be the book for you!

This was the choice for my book club for November. It is the first book that we have read by a male author! I will report back about how we all got on with it soon. 

Thrillers are not my normal choice, but I came to Simon Kernick when I was sent a copy of Siege to read. I read it in a day, I was hooked! Which was why I went to Simon himself via the social media tool Twitter and asked what he would recommend for my book club. This was one of his choices, which I put forward with two other author’s works and this came out on top! Although I think we will read the other two on the list as well. 

As I have had a rather author heavy last few months of this year, I sent some questions to Simon which he kindly answered for me. I am very grateful as he has been very busy finishing his current novel and had some deadlines to meet. 

Simon – What gave you the idea for the book and how much research do you have to do?

The idea for THE LAST TEN SECONDS came from a film script I once wrote. I made a few changes and  the plot stayed much the same. I research less these days than I used to although I have some very good police contacts who I talk to when I need to know something about police procedures.
Do you find writing such graphic scenes of violence disturbing?
I think it effects me more than I give it credit for, although I try as hard as I can not to dwell on the more violent episodes in my books. I prefer the violence to be offscreen rather than on.
It is normally the case that a male author writes a male detective, did you consciously choose DI Tina Boyd or did she find you?
Tina was a minor character from my early books who just got bigger and bigger as time went by. it was  a very natural process and I didn’t really think about it much. So I guess she found me.

Other than Tina, which is your favourite character in this book? Can you have a favourite character in books of this genre?

I like Sean Egan. He’s a good man with some bad traits but his heart’s in the right place, which I think (hope) makes him more interesting as a character. He was half-based on an undercover guy I know, although I’m sure my contact would never be quite so reckless as Sean!

What do you like to read for pleasure?

Sadly, it’s mainly crime thrillers, although occasionally I like to read old classics. I recently re-read East of Eden by John Steinbeck who’s one of my favourite non-crime authors, and I’m about to read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness for the first time.

Thanks for the questions Simon, I will be sharing them with the rest of my book club.