An excellent read, April 1, 2012
By Hugh Ashton
First off – No Remorse does not read like an independently/self-published first novel. It has all the hallmarks of a finished confident best-selling author. Characters who, while perhaps stock characters for this genre, nonetheless are real enough and sympathetic enough to grab your attention. Villains who are truly evil, and a plot that rockets along at high speed – fast enough for me to devour the book in two massive gulps. The book is obviously well-edited and extremely well-researched, with many relevant references to news events within the past 12 months. Very up to date, and very accurate on all the things I know something about. No misprints that I noticed, either! Dialogue works to build up the characters as three-dimensional figures. Technically a very well-crafted piece of writing, other than the ending being a little rushed and perhaps a bit too complex compared with the rest of the book. Clues to the dénouement have been nicely planted earlier in the story, though.
I have two reservations that prevent me from giving it five stars. These are highly personal reservations and reflect me and my prejudices more than they do the book itself. The first is the amount of sexual violence, which is a necessary part of the plot – it’s not gratuitously thrown in there – but it does disturb me (which it is probably meant to). The second is the demonization of Moslems as Moslems. I know that a book of this scope needs global villains, and since the collapse of the Soviet Empire, there are no wicked Communists poised to take over the world. Blofield types don’t cut it, and there is, after all, a real-life war going on against some pretty nasty people who profess to follow Islam. However, I would have liked to see a counterbalance somewhere with a “good” imam or mullah. Again, this is me, not necessarily the writer.
These quibbles apart, I recommend this book. If Walkley is planning a second edition at some stage, by the way, I would recommend a smaller trim size and more pages.