Chris Ewan's Long Time Lost is a fast-paced, standalone thriller.
Long Time Lost is a very sharp, finely-crafted thriller from page one. To kick off the story, Chris Ewan takes us to the Isle of Man where Nick Miller provides an unusual product to his customers. He and his colleagues specialize in relocating at-risk individuals, providing new identities and new lives for those who want to disappear and start over.
The tension and rhythm of this thriller start from the very beginning and don’t let up. Nick is exceptionally good at what he does—and for good reason. He himself has been in hiding, living under an assumed name for years. Nothing like personal experience to make you a top-class provider who knows what the customer desires in order to satisfy the contract.
The problem is that when certain people want to find you, they will stop at nothing to achieve that end. And when they have the resources to make sure you're located, it’s important to remain extra careful, as one slip up could be the difference between life and death.
That’s the case for Kate Sutherland, who has hired the services of Nick Miller. She has her doubts as to whether she is taking the right path by accessing his special type of protection, but Connor Lane is after her, and he’s not giving up. Some people are to be avoided on a dark night, but others like Connor Lane are to be given a wide berth at any time of the day. Kate’s problems are more than just the dangerous Lane, however, as he is not the only one coming after her. The police have more than a passing interest in her whereabouts.
So far, Lloyd had remained silent as her colleagues had reacted to the situation and put the established protocols into action. She’s watched them work the phones and the computers as she liaised with the Isle of Man Constabulary and pulled together all the available information. That was part one of the investigation and it had been slick and impressive.
Then part two had begun and Lloyd had bit her tongue as the team analysed the data they’d amassed. They’d speculated about who the dead man might be and debated whether he was a random intruder or, as seemed more likely, a hired killer.
They’d settled on Connor Lane as the most likely candidate to have hired him. They’d spoken in concerned tones about Kate Sutherland’s welfare, her possible whereabouts and her likely responses to being targeted. They’d talked about how they might contact her without blowing her cover, how best to reassure her and let her know that it was safe to come in.
And then Lloyd had finally had her fill of it. Because there was something fundamental that they were overlooking.
She pushed off from the wall and crossed the room, slipped the squash ball into her pocket and snatched up a marker pen.
She scrawled eight words on the empty whiteboard, then thumped her fist so hard against it that everyone in the room turned to stare.
“Issue an arrest warrant for Kate Sutherland NOW”
Chris Ewan’s writing is tight, clean, and essential. It keeps you on your toes and never falters or turns into a ridiculous gore-fest. The action moves from the Isle of Man to the North of England, then on to Hamburg. After Germany, we travel from France to the Czech Republic to Switzerland. It's like the United Nations of thrillers, and Chris Ewan’s pen leaks vengeance and retribution on every page.
Lloyd stepped away from her car in front of the wrought-iron gates at the entrance to the Lane estate. It was late in the evening, a chill in the air. She turned up the collar of her jacket and leaned a finger on the intercom.
“Mister Lane, it’s your pen pal……DS Lloyd. You sent me a photograph of a mutual acquaintance of ours a little while ago. I think it’s time we talked.”
There was no response. She raised her face to the camera fitted above the gates and stared directly into the lens.
“There’s something I need to tell you, Mister Lane, Mike, too. I saw him drive in just now. Better you both hear it from me tonight than from an arresting officer in the morning.”
Nothing further was said but the gate mechanism buzzed and the latch released and the gates started to swing open. Lloyd lingered, still staring into the security camera, then finally broke away and returned to her car, tilting her rear-view mirror to take a look at herself, weighing again the significance of what she was about to do.
Don't forget your passport; Long Time Lost is a crime-writing treat that will take you all over the world.
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Dirk Robertson is a Scots thriller writer, currently in Virginia where he is promoting literacy and art projects for young gang members. When not writing, tweeting, or blogging on the Mystery Writers of America website, he designs and knits clothes and handbags from recycled rubbish.