The Theseus Paradox
by David Videcette
What if everything you thought you knew about London’s 7/7 bombings was a lie?
July 2005: In the midst of Operation Theseus, the largest terrorist investigation that the UK has ever known, Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan begins to ask difficult questions that lead to the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend and his sudden suspension from the Metropolitan Police.
Who masterminded London’s summer of terror? Why can’t Flannagan make headway in the sprawling investigation? Are the bombers the perfect pretext to mask a different plot entirely? Is Jake’s absent Security Service girlfriend really who she claims to be?
While hunting for the answers to the most complex terrorist case in British history, one man will uncover the greatest criminal deception of our time.
Terror, extremism and fear of the unknown,
Sometimes the answer is much closer to home.
The book starts out with D.I. Jake Flanagan out on a limb trying to foil what he correctly believes to be terrorists plotting an atrocity. He wakes up in hospital to the news that bombers have exploded bombs on the London Underground and a bus.
Jake works for the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch and is sent up to West Yorkshire as part of Operation Theseus to find out who was behind the bombings. He becomes frustrated as the investigation moves on at a snail’s pace. When his girlfriend, Claire, who works for the security service, comes up to Leeds with some secret intelligence for him about the bombings, Jake’s maverick side takes over and, without authorisation he goes about pursuing these leads. He ends up in dangerous territory, suspended from his job and losing most everything. Still he carries on, craving knowledge of what happened and justice.
This book at times feels so real. David Videcette, using his background of twenty years’ policing experience including counter-terror operations (he worked on the 7/7 bombings in London), brings this story to life so effectively and it’s up to you to decide what’s fact and what’s fiction. Insights into some police procedures and tricks of the trade like “never seat a prisoner behind the driver in a car” are obviously real and help to lull you into the sense that everything so easily could be.
Jake’s frustrations with the lack of communication between the security service and the police also rings true: “I don’t get how you can have all that intelligence and not see the wood for the trees. It was obvious.” A statement the general public often find themselves asking about the security services. How is it after every atrocity you know exactly where to go, but you don’t go beforehand?
Jake is a very engaging character despite not giving too much of himself away. We know he walked away from his wife and two daughters after the death of his mother and he now has his sometime girlfriend Claire; but he has no real connection to anybody. He drinks too much,tries drugs and has sex with pretty much any woman that catches his eye. All meaningless; all guilt trips. Yet his heart comes through; he cares deeply for the job that he does, to the detriment of everything else. I really hope that Jake will be back as I really want to know him better.
The author has created a fabulous book with an extremely plausible storyline. The short chapters keep the pages turning and the plotline never lets up. The denouement is more than believable and if you do or don’t is entirely up to you. What I would say is don’t miss it. One of the best thrillers this year.
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