One reason, then, for the absorbing quality of this book is that an iconic event is being looked at from a new angle (new to book publishing, that is).
But that’s not enough on its own. In addition to the set-up, complications abound. Half-way in, some of the elements include:
- Two rival sets of assassins, each out to remove the other
- One assassin defects from one group to the other — maybe.
- The organisation who set up assassin 1 want to remove him now, to avoid loose ends.
- The organisation who set up assassin 2 are currently focusing on eliminating assassin 1, but no doubt it will have its own agenda later in the book whether or not it succeeds in this immediate goal.
- Assassin 1 (the hero) has to operate on his wits, one step ahead of certain disaster. This adds plenty of tension and excitement to events, in addition to the dilemma of who is responsible for commissioning him (and decommissioning him).
- There are several government departments, security departments and even the Bildberberg group (subject of the hilarious "expose" Them, by Jon Ronson, a few years ago) involved, either in the set up, the cover up, or in taking advantage of the chaos that has ensued since the crash. So far, this isn’t too confusing as the reader is thankfully allowed to focus on one or two at a time to let them gel, before being whisked off to the next.
- Relationships. There is love interest, jealousy, loyalty, betrayal and passion between individuals. Vignettes about other situations tangential to the plot tell mini-stories within the main story, a nice touch.
- The crime. The investigation of the death of the princess and others in the car is not featuring much so far, thankfully, but it is there in the background — cleverly, often in the form of conversations between senior characters, rather than being described directly.
- Pacing. We are aware of other potentially significant characters who are going to appear, but haven’t yet. How are they going to affect events?
So for me, the excitement works on various levels — "will they get away?", "who set them up and why?", "if they get away, how are they going to ensure their safety?", and more. So far, the author is keeping plenty of balls in the air, breezily cross-cutting between countries and characters with aplomb, and not letting the pace slacken for an instant: as soon as one situation calms down, there are plenty of other strands that can be tautened. Yes, the hero does have convenient friends who can hack into password-protected computers and set up a perfect sting with cameras in cigarette packets, but never mind– I can forgive a few flaws;-).
So this is where I was up to this morning before the day really got started. Since then, as well as these posts, I’ve been doing domestic chores, made the lunch, shifted furniture around, bagged up "stuff" for charity shops and the attic — and am currently typing to "Die Walkure" being listened to by the MP while he paints some shelves. So I’m off upstairs to read some more pages of Accident Man for as long as this window remains open.