Seb Kirby's Take No More is what I like to think of as the "traditional" thriller which, as he himself has said, pits the ordinary man against great odds and thereby proves that person is certainly not ordinary.
The plot works around stolen art works and the possibility of many being hidden under layers of other works – either by the original artists or by people hoping to hide them. Collectors would pay millions for well known ones but of course if they can get away with murdering instead, that is faster and cheaper.
The story starts dramatically with James coming home after a day’s work to find Julia, an art restorer, dying inside the front door. Horrified, he calls the police and of course finds himself the chief suspect. Except for a copy of Julia’s downloaded files, he had no clue as to what she had done or with whom she’d associated in order to be murdered.
His brother, Miles, an investigative journalist and his partner Sergio, have unwittingly poked a crocodile with a stick – Alfieri and Alessa’s corrupt business dealings may well get them all killed.
The main character of James Blake, a likable man, is straightforward. We do not know many of his innermost thoughts which do not concern the job in hand, that of solving the mystery into which he has been plunged by the death of his wife. Obtaining information, keeping alive and in the meantime, revenge, are his only goals.
As in all good traditional thrillers, there are myriad twist and turns, some of them delightful, others heartbreaking. The dialogue is natural and flowing, the plot well laid out and easy to follow. Some authors – in my opinion – make their plot so intricate that the average reader, especially me, is lost in a maze of over-cleverness. The pacing is fast but slows to allow the reader to catch her breath and then soldier on. One of the surprises in this novel, is that the author has actually managed to make me sorry for one of the murderers. That is a feat worth mentioning!