May 13th, 2020 by Jane Turner
My review of The Kompromat Kill by Michael Jenkins was done as part of the damppebbles blog tour, organised by Emma Watson. I received a complimentary Kindle copy of the book, which was published in paperback and digital formats on 19 June 2019.
‘They were preparing for decades – now it’s time to take them down…’
A DIPLOMAT VANISHES
A BOMB DISPOSAL EXPERT GOES ROGUE
Hiding overseas with a price on his head, Sean Richardson is tasked to lead a deniable operation to hunt down and recruit an international model and spy. Moving across Asia Minor and Europe, Sean embarks on a dangerous journey tracking an Iranian spy ring who hold the keys to a set of consequences the British Intelligence Services would rather not entertain.
As Sean investigates deeper, he uncovers dark secrets from his past and a complex web of espionage spun from the hand of a global master spy. As he inches closer to the truth, the rules of the game change – and the nerve-wracking fate of many lives sits in his hands…
The story is very good: believable premise, intricate and detailed plot, engaging characters, (seemingly) honest descriptions of government functionaries, detail on ‘secret’ intelligence departments and operational divisions (assumed accurate given the author’s history).
Everything is there to make this a killer tale: figuratively and literally!
I enjoyed the story. I was engaged with the characters, wanted to find out what happened, wanted to see the bad guys get justice and the white hats triumph.
But, like the world of espionage, it isn’t always that clear cut.
Being an editor probably made this more apparent to me than most readers, but I had major issues with the writing style and language. Long sentences, becoming clunkier the longer they were. Questionable word choices. (One sentence used the word ‘deniable’ twice in one phrase.) Stilted and formal dialogue. A distinct lack of punctuation, making the sentences stutter, and the flow hard to grasp. There was backstory when there should have been forward movement. When the setup was made, a following sentence gave it away.
I have to admit, it was a difficult read for me, and took me far longer than normal to finish. I simply couldn’t find the flow.
But, finish it, I did.
And I was intrigued by the story. I was engaged with the characters. I just didn’t like how it came onto the page.
All in all, The Kompromat Kill is an engaging glimpse into the blurred world of MI5 and intelligence services; that murky world where wrong can be done in pursuit of right, where the ends more than justify the means. Where everyone wears many faces, politicians are only out for themselves, and the bad guys may be justified.
If you like a good espionage thriller, you’ll enjoy this.
Michael Jenkins, MBE says:
I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers.
I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.
I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.
The Failsafe Query is my debut novel, with The Kompromat Kill, my second.