I’ve steered clear of American thriller writers for a while now, but after reading this novel I can’t understand why!
Pete Mesling concocts a world of shadows and deceit as his protagonist, Davenport, fails on a mission, a mission to kill. Davenport is an assassin, known as the Mad Marksman of Malta. When the contract to kill Max Brindle misfires, and with his mission unfinished and his courage shaken, Davenport has to face the consequences and they are far reaching.
Mistakenly thinking the contract has been fulfilled, the mastermind behind it, the Black Phantom, plans to perform a spiteful act of retribution. Davenport has no choice but to join again with a group of skilled mercenaries in an effort to exact his own revenge as he finds himself the target of the Phantom's displeasure. He needs to work again with his old compatriots. These are the Portable Nine: Davenport, Abel Hazard, Miranda Gissing, Joseph Intaglio, Mr Bonnet, Twitch Markham, The Butcher, Lovinia Dulcet and Robin Varnesse.
They operate outside the law, but they still maintain a code of ethics. They may all be outcasts, but they are still heroes to the underclass and adversaries to society's enemies. But what is the society they try to maintain? They are the white knights to the brutal black knights, they are clever and resourceful, brave and fearless, and they will all stop at nothing to see that their brotherhood maintains the status quo.
Well written, though perhaps over the top, the novel draws the reader into the seedy cold-hearted underbelly of society. Should evil ever win or should another, different evil be allowed to succeed? The age old story of an eye for an eye is given new life by Mesling. Whose side will you find yourself on? Who are the truly evil?
Jon Wilkins is 66. He is married to the gorgeous Annie with two wonderful sons. He was a teacher for twenty years, a Waterstones bookseller and coached women’s basketball for over thirty years before taking up writing seriously. Nowadays he takes notes for students with Special Needs at Leicester University. He has had a work commissioned by the UK Arts Council and several pieces published traditionally as well as on-line. He has had poems in magazines and anthologies, art galleries, studios, museums and at Huddersfield Railway Station. He loves writing poetry. For his MA, he wrote a crime novel, Utrecht Snow. He followed it up with Utrecht Rain, and is now writing a third part. He is currently writing a crime series, Poppy Knows Best, set at the end of the Great War and into the early 1920s.