Thrilled to try a new genre

While I’m a big fan of Crime and Mystery novels, I’m less keen on its brash excitable cousin, Thrillers. With this exception of The Bourne Trilogy, I have never really enjoyed action or thriller films or books. However it was with delight that I got Corruption of Power the soon-to-be-released thriller from G W Eccles. My reaction is partly due to the fact that this is a book I wouldn’t necessarily read under normal circumstances; as you know I love getting recommendations, otherwise I get stuck in a classics and Agatha Christie rut.

I also was quite excited by the prospect of reading a book that was potentially so well researched. Eccles has spent most his working life living and working in Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, where the majority of the action takes place, and most of the scenes and anecdotes are supposedly taken from his experiences. There’s only so much depth an author can get from holidays and Wikipedia-ing, so the author’s background can only be an advantage here. I was looking forward to reading a book that was full of the sort of insights that you only get from experiencing a place first hand for a long period of time.

I wasn’t disappointed. COP was full of subtle nods to local cultures, ways of interacting and lifestyles that I, as a mere intermediate in world travel, just ate up. From the crowded markets of Turkmenistan to the chilling scenes in Russian boardrooms, COP was full of local colour and behind the scenes knowledge. It really filled out what could have been another run-of-the-mill spy story into a well-rounded novel. Think Jack Reacher meets Lonely Planet. This, and the excellent well thought out plot turns, made it a really easy read for someone like me who would normally avoid Tom Clancy and his ilk like sarin gas.

The best scenes by far were ones involving Karpev, the leopard wrestling, topless photoshoot-ing, ruthless Russian president; an ill-disguised Putin. With the actual current climate surrounding Russia being as it is, the scenes with characters discussing Russia’s nefarious international dealings felt frighteningly realistic.

While these parts felt like they could be based in real life, there were other bits that stretched credulity somewhat. Trying not to reveal any spoilers, the frequency and nature of the peril the main characters were subjected bordered on cartoon levels, and did feel juxta-posed next to hyper-lifelike gritty realism. Normally this would bother me, but I actually enjoyed the almost comic relief after all the hard-hitting political talk. Whether this was Eccles’ intention I’m not sure, but I feel it worked well for this purpose.

So I would definitely recommend this book, with a caveat. If, like me, you are inexperienced in, or don’t feel a draw to the current thriller market, then this is a great introduction. It is an enjoyable read, not too action heavy and a good mix of grit and humour. If, however, you are a die-hard thriller fan with a whole library of Tom Clancy novels under your belt, (there’s an image) then you may not enjoy it as much as other more true-to-genre books. For me on the other hand, it has opened my eyes to a whole new category of novel, and for that I’m very thankful.

Corruption of Power is available from the 14th December in ebook and paperback form at Amazon UK, USA and India.

To find out more about George Eccles you can visit his website Twitter and Facebook page.

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