Book Title:   RED ICE
Author:   James Phelan
Publisher:   Hachette Australia
Copyright:   2009
ISBN:  978-0-7336-2441-4
No of Pages:   442

Book Synopsis:

The outlines of two figures were just visible behind a half-open tinted window.  Watching him, waiting.

Lachlan Fox went on his way, the back of his neck prickling with sweat.  He was beginning to feel it was the start of a very long day.

Book Review:

Never having read any of James Phelan's Lachlan Fox series before, RED ICE had to be approached as a standalone, which probably made for a different experience than that of the dedicated fan.

Lachlan Fox is an ex-navy operative turned investigative journalist, and in this book he's in France with friends, at the same time that the Russian Ambassador and his wife are assassinated.  Despite being on holidays, Lachlan very quickly finds himself back in the action, in one of the all-time great car chase sequences.  Followed by a very personal threat, a Russian criminal who escapes from law enforcement (via a plane to plane docking procedure), another great car chase, a lot of rushing around, a trip to Shanghai, and one of those impeding global catastrophe sort of threats.

Now I don't know if Lachlan Fox is always quite such an energiser bunny sort of character, but I'm guessing he probably is.  In RED ICE he's beaten, chased, beaten, threatened, beaten, scared, beaten and happily saving the day.  Honestly, I've no idea how he was still moving around by the end of the book.  It certainly didn't seem to be down to much in the way of medical assistance, yet he absorbs it all, and keeps going, saving the world.  Which is part of the whole point of these sorts of thrillers really.  The one man against the threat (in this case a very James Bondish Russian villain whose supporters seem to have some seriously impressive gadgetry).

RED ICE is the 5th Lachlan Fox book and it's hard to tell exactly what's going on, but I'm guessing that this book ties up some ends from the rest of the series.  There's definitely a lot of history between Fox and the others in the cast in this book - but not having read any of the earlier books made it all a bit difficult to follow.  I think that's probably the best argument for not starting with RED ICE as I've done.  Obviously this is a series that has a lot of relationship development within it - but it's hard to tell how successful it's been starting at what feels like the end.

In terms of a pure thriller, with a big global conspiracy, a nicely sinister villain and a one man to save the world scenario, RED ICE really tore along.  In fact, this conspiracy actually worked well - probably because elements of it were so personalised.  I'm definitely going to have to go back to the earlier books - finding out everything there is to know about Lachlan Fox is the least you can do when the man is just trying his hardest to save us all.

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