Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
Time Lost starts promisingly with a fit and capable Kate,
supposedly safe under the Witness Protection Scheme, having her ‘safe’ house
broken into twice, first by Big Nick Miller warning that her life is in danger
and she should flee with him – now – and second (after she has turned Nick
away) by the killer himself. The system has failed her. Soon Kate
is drawn into Big Nick’s off-the-radar new identity service, small but
well-funded and with technical skills that Spooks would be proud of.
The plot thickens. And gets hectic.
From here the book follows an all too familiar path
in modern thrillers: Superman and his trusty female companion against the
all-knowing Evil Empire. Expect shoot-outs and chases. People
die. Finally comes one of those old-fashioned climaxes where at crucial
moments whoever has a gun either puts it down or fails to fire it (or misses),
and the villain insists on explaining the convoluted plot to his supposedly
doomed victims rather than just pulling the damned trigger and wrapping it all
As we know, the longer he lingers …