Yes ladies and gents. George is back and this time it really is personal.
Twelve months have passed since the end of ‘The Girl Who Walked in the Shadows’ and George McKenzie still hasn’t heard from her mother. Still receiving mystery e-mails from someone claiming to be her father, she is sure that somehow The Duke is behind it all, even though he is safely locked away in prison. She just has to prove it.
Meanwhile, over in Amsterdam, Van den Bergen is faced with a disturbing trend of bodies being pulled from the canals. Up to the latest victim, all have been young men, but all of them seem to have taken the same drug just prior to their deaths. But is this a serial killer targeting the gay community or something else. Van den Bergen reaches out to his lover, George, asking for her help as a criminologist to understand what is happening in his beloved city. And when one of Van den Bergen’s detectives contacts her with information relating to her mother, George is only too happy to help.
But their investigations take a sinister turn when, working undercover, George and Elvis come across information linking the drugs to a face from Van den Bergen’s past, someone they all thought was safely behind bars. Following the drugs trail, they are taken half way across the world to South America, where George has also picked up a trail which may lead her to her father. When George leaves Van den Bergen at the airport to go undercover with a dangerous gang of mercenaries, he is faced with a difficult choice. Follow the drugs or follow his lover.
He knows he has to trust George, that she will be okay, but soon the stakes are raised. With one of his Detectives back in Amsterdam missing, everything now rests on them tracking down the source of the drugs, a man the locals call ‘El Cocodrilo’.
Oh wow. You know when you’ve kind of missed someone or something but you don’t realise quite how much until you are reunited? Yes. That. That is the George McKenzie series for me and this book was such a welcome addition. Gripping and pacy and full of the same mix of humour and drama that you would expect from George and Van den Bergen, this book had me hooked from the start.
This book really carries straight on from ‘The Girl Who Walked In The Shadows’ so I would recommend that you’ve at least read that before dipping into this book to read as it will make so much more sense. While it clearly references other elements of George and Van den Bergen’s past, it is most clearly linked to what happened in the end of the previous book so you will find some very big spoilers contained within if you read any other way around.
This book touches on the periphery of some very tough subjects; trafficking, drug use, murder, but not in an unnecessarily graphic way. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very hard scenes to read, the airfield execution being one example. You are in absolutely no doubt as to what is happening and if like my, you have real thing about eyes, then the scene in the warehouse with Elvis may well make you grimace a little. Totally eww. El Cocdrilo is not a nice man at all, but what would you expect from someone who feeds people to his crocodiles for fun.
There is a real sense of jeopardy within this book, not just for George and Van den Bergen who are faced with a man determined to make them pay for their part in his incarceration, but for those around them. I mean – poor Elvis. Not only is he trying to contend with his dying mother, but he finally meets someone who he really likes, only to end up being put in a position where he could lose everything, just to send a message to Van den Bergen.
As for El Cocodrilo, he is the perfect foil for our two heroes. Ruthless, with absolutely no conscience, his only concern is in finding a way to ship his drugs from Central America north to the USA and east to Europe, and to get revenge against the two people he hates the most; George and Van den Bergen.
But George and Van den Bergen. Their relationship is where the true beauty of this series lies. They really shouldn’t work but, as George say, ‘The heart wants what it wants’. Their exchanges, both in person and also via text as George hides out among the gang in the jungle, are full of humour but also the clear love they have for one another. This is where you say aww. It’s clear they would put their lives on the line for one another, although George will always be the more daring in that department. The woman, as the title would suggest, has absolutely no fear. What she will do to protect those she loves is incredible, but part of what makes her such an endearing character.
The pacing is sharp, the dialogue spot on, the tension gradually building with every page turn. From the minute Elvis is taken and George goes undercover in the jungle you are on the edge of your seat. As the action moves around between the points of view of George, Van den Bergen, Elvis an El Cocodrilo, you feel as though you are on a rollercoaster, one of the old wooden ones where the slightest wrong vibration and a bolt could come loose sending everything crashing to the ground. And I loved it. I can’t wait to see what more is to come for this pair. Impetuous Gal and the Grumpy Grandpa. Is there any better pairing?
This gets a machete wielding, crocodile tooth grinning 5 stars from me.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Publishers Harper Collins, Avon.
‘The Girl Who Had No Fear’ is available now from the following sites.
The other books in the George McKenzie Series can be purchased from Amazon UK by selecting any of the images below.