‘An explosive crime thriller set between the UK and Europe at the time of Britain joining the EU ‘
I am delighted to be joining renowned author Peter May on tour with The Man With No Face, a book originally published in 1981, but now, after getting a ‘light revision‘, has been re-published with Quercus Books.
Set amidst the political and social turmoil of the 1970s, in Brussels, Peter May was struck by how the subject matter of the book closely emulated the state of the political play today. With a few minor changes, the book was published on 10th January and I have my review for you all here today.
[ About the Book ]
A REPORTER WITH NO FEAR
Jaded Edinburgh journalist Neil Bannerman is sent to Brussels, intent on digging up dirt. Yet it is danger he discovers, when two British men are found murdered.
A CHILD WITH NO FATHER
One victim is a journalist, the other a Cabinet Minister: the double-assassination witnessed by the former’s autistic daughter. This girl recalls every detail about her father’s killer – except for one.
THE MAN WITH NO FACE
With the city rocked by the tragedy, Bannerman is compelled to follow his instincts. He is now fighting to expose a murderous conspiracy, protect a helpless child, and unmask a remorseless killer
[ My Review ]
Neil Bannerman is tired. A journalist for many years he has seen it all. Now working for The Edinburgh Post, Bannerman is at odds with the newly appointed editor, Wilson Tait, ‘a hard newspaperman of the old school; a Fleet Street toughened Scot returning to his old hunting grounds and bringing with him his personal hard core of hatchet men whom he was moving into key editorial positions.’ Bannerman knows his days with the paper are numbered, as personalities clash and heads roll, but not before Tait gives him one more job. Bannerman is being sent to Brussels for a few weeks to get him out of the way, giving Tait the opportunity to figure out how to deal with him.
Brussels is in flux as the political landscape changes and it is up to Bannerman to see if he can uncover any scandals within the party ranks, some juicy newspaper headlines. Bannerman is to bunk up with a fellow Post colleague, Tony Slater, but on arrival in Brussels he immediately feels that he is not welcome at Slater’s rented accommodation. Slater’s young daughter, Tania, lives with him. Tania is autistic with, as Bannerman discovers, an incredible talent for sketching. Bannerman and Slater clash from the outset with Bannerman’s journalistic intuition pointing to an unease in Slater’s countenance.
Meanwhile, there is an assassin after arriving into Brussels with an agenda to take out two targets, a journalist and a British Cabinet minister. The journalist is question, being Tony Slater and the minister, a Robert Gryffe. Kale, the individual assigned with this task is a hardened war vet who suffered a very traumatic childhood. His experiences in the army and his difficult childhood left their mark on Kale, now a man with no conscience and no love for any person, not even himself, making him a very dangerous foe. But Kale hadn’t figured on leaving a witness behind after he had completed his task in hand. He never knew she was there……but Tania saw it all. She witnessed the cold-blooded murder of her father and the politician and drew a sketch detailing the scene. The one piece missing off the sketch is the face of the killer.
Bannerman is in the right place at the right time and using all his investigative experiences he sets about discovering the truth. He is very concerned for the safety of Tania, now an orphan, but more importantly a vital witness. Always a hard man, he is surprised at the strong protective feelings he has developed for Tania. He fears for her safety and this spurs him on to action.
Neil Bannerman is a man of his time. It’s the 1970s, the world a very different place than it is today, with chauvinistic attitudes toward women quite common place and almost accepted. Did I like Bannerman? At times probably not. He comes across as quite a dogmatic individual, quite sexist in many of his actions but again, when reading a book like this, I do always take into account the era it encompasses. Peter May has maintained the authenticity of those years with the lack of technology available to Bannerman and the delays associated with retrieving vital information, as well as the role of women in the workplace.
The Man With No Face is a political thriller with a slice of noir, with a dark brooding atmosphere very prevalent throughout. The men in this book are tough and seasoned. They belong to a different time and for me they are cast exactly as I would have wanted and expected. The Man With No Face is an entertaining read with plenty of suspense and intrigue. There are shadows at play here who wish to remain anonymous, powerful men that will do everything to keep their positions in the political world, a world that may actually not be all that different from today!!
Purchase Link ~ The Man With No Face
[ An Aside ]
‘Peter drew inspiration for his plotline from real events. The unsolved murder of French MP Prince Jean de Broglie in a dark Paris street in 1976, coupled with reading an article about Nadia Chomyn, the autistic child of Ukrainian science graduates who had settled in the UK, and her extraordinary artistic abilities, served as the basis to Peter’s storyline. Peter did extensive research into autism and visited a clinic for autistic children in Glasgow. Sadly, upon coming to re-write this book for the second draft, Peter discovered that Nadia Chomyn had passed away in 2015.’
[ Bio ]
Peter May was an award-winning journalist at the age of just twenty-one. He left newspapers for television and screenwriting, creating three prime-time British drama series and accruing more than 1,000 television credits.
He is published in 32 languages and has sold several million copies worldwide as well as winning numerous awards. His last novel I’ll Keep You Safe (2018) was no.1 in The Times book charts and his new novel The Man With No Face is due to come out in January 2019.
In recent years he won the Best Crime Novel Award for The Blackhouse at Bouchercon in the US, Entry Island won the Deanston Crime Book of the Year and Specsavers ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read Award.
Website ~ http://www.petermay.info
Twitter ~ @authorpetermay