Like retired footballers turning trainer, this story is about the professional soldiers, SAS and mercenaries, who retire into the security business, bringing their expertise in organised violence to the protection of legitimate businesses.
The main characters are solitary individuals, often with a personal tragedy in their baggage. This is a very shady world, where instant decisions are made about who dies and how, leaving no time for agonising over the whys and the wherefors. Morally, it’s all very easy, with few attacks of remorse afterwards. Bodies are left for the bin men to collect, and the killers of friends are tracked down remorselessly, just on the margins of legality, but with the connivance of the police.
I found myself turning the pages, hoping the characters on the ‘good’ side would not get hurt, and hoping the ‘bad’ guys would get what was coming to them. The action jets around the world, with some nice descriptions, that range from Jack’s poverty-stricken childhood in Glasgow, to the exotic brilliance of Hong Kong. The ends are all tied up in a believable way, leaving the reader with a couple of South American vignettes that stick in the mind long after the story ends. This isn’t a novel that seeks to deliver moral judgements. It’s about camaraderie and friendship. Recommended to anyone who enjoys thrillers with the emphasis on people rather than politics or espionage.
You can buy The Violin Man’s Legacy here