This is Mark Chisnell's second outing for psychotic villain Janac. His team attack an old cargo ship under the charge of captain Phil Hamnet as a part of his latest venture. To Janac's delight also on board is Hamnet's heavily pregnant wife Anna. Back to the sort of mind games he delighted in during his first outing in The Defector he takes Anna hostage, initially to buy Hamnet's silence. However after his escape Hamnet has to deal with his conscience and decide whether the life of his wife and children are more valuable than the lives of many more sailors. For Janac the deal is even sweeter when he learns about Hamnet's past.
This book has similar threads to the first in the series, with the exotic locale, sailing and psychological games in common. However the cast of characters is almost entirely new, which allows the author to develop his intelligent villain while presenting a whole new story. The maritime aspect is slightly less important this time but provides a dynamic backdrop for parts of the tale.
Hamnet is a complicated character with an uncertain past. I sympathised with the dilemma he faced but found some of his actions hard to understand. Although he is helped, and hindered, by a number of people Hamnet and Janac really are the key protagonists and by far the best defined. I think my favourite aspect of the book is the fascination Hamnet holds for Janac, and his attempts to figure out how his victim will react to the pressure being applied.
As with The Defector this is full of action but provides plenty to think about. I have developed a strange and slightly worrying fondness for Janac over the course of the two books, and really enjoyed this psychological thriller.
Format: Kindle, freebie
My Rating: 4*