Today I’m sharing my thoughts on #Taken by Tony Parsons, part of the Max Wolfe series. Another book that’s been on the TBR for far too long, I listened to the audiobook instead, which is always a treat. Here’s what the book is all about:
About the Book
#taken in the night
They thought they were kidnapping the mistress of one of London’s most powerful gangsters. But they’ve taken the wrong woman. And crossed the wrong detective.
Detective Max Wolfe’s hunt for the missing woman takes him from New Scotland Yard’s legendary Black Museum to the glittering mansions of career criminals, from sleazy strip joints to secret sex dungeons – and to unspeakably dark deeds committed decades ago.
#taken to the limit
It’s a world of family secrets, sexual jealousy, and a lust for revenge – which might also become Wolfe’s grave…
Following on very swiftly from the events of previous book, Girl on Fire, this book is packed with action, tension and emotion – just how I like them. We open with a planned abduction, a woman snatched from a car, leaving her young child unattended. What starts as an abduction investigation soon turns a lot darker when it becomes clear that the case is linked to some very unsavoury characters and that the woman may have been a victim of mistaken identity. Enter stage left a very emotional Max Wolfe, someone who has been put through the ringer more times than he deserves. Part of me kind of wanted him to have an easy ride this time around. Thankfully for readers, Tony Parsons doesn’t seem to agree, which is all the better for us really.
I’ve got to be honest. Max Wolfe is probably the real reason I love these books. Yes, he’s a tough, action hero kind of police officer. Boxer, investigator … but also father. It’s that relationship with his daughter Scout, his absolute dedication to her that gives him that human touch in a lifestyle that would otherwise make him seem implausibly dynamic. He’s an emotional soul, emotion which feeds into the heart of the story, but done in a way that doesn’t slow the action, more gives readers a well needed breather every now and then. I like him as a character and am always keen to see what fresh hell he is facing next.
And hell it is. Organised crime, revenge plots and a whole host of suspects – a list made even longer by the fact that the missing woman’s father is an ex-copper himself. Whilst the story is predominantly told from Max’s point of view, the focus bounces back and forth between the suspects, keeping the pacing en-pointe and making the story literally fly by. Characters are perfectly fleshed out and many of the foes Max finds himself confronting are as loathsome as any we’ve met in the series so far. It really does push Max to the limit and on more than one occasion the jeopardy levels are so high, particularly for our hero, that you wonder if there is any coming back from this.
I did guess the ultimate perpetrator quite early on, but the author does a good job of slowly revealing the reasons behind the abduction and all of the various story threads which go to weave the whole picture. It’s not as straightforward as you might think and it made me think back to the old adage ‘no honour amongst thieves’. Definitely the case here. There’s another old saying that sprang to mind too, but if I say it, it will give far too much away.
Another tense, action filled read that had me racing from start to finish. Relatively speaking – I was paced by the audiobook, narrated brilliantly by the very talented Colin Mace. I love his narration and would highly recommend the audiobooks just for that alone. I miss Max, but I’m kind of glad he’s having a break. After five years of punishing investigations, he kind of deserves a little holiday. Recommended.
About the Author
Tony Parsons is a bestselling novelist and an award-winning journalist. His books have been published in over forty languages and his multi-million selling novel Man and Boy won The Book of The Year prize in 2000. Most recently, he created the Max Wolfe crime series. Tony lives in London with his family.