Tangled Web UK Review November 2000
The Honey Trap by
hbk out October 00
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Clive Egleton has written almost thirty novels, this being the eighth in his series about Peter Ashton, a senior SIS officer who seems a cross between George Smiley and James Bond. The format is the familiar one of internecine feuding between the moguls in the SIS, MI5, Special Branch and the Foreign Office, the hero being a loose cannon aggravated by the bureaucratic jealousies of government service and the fact that his ex-fiancé is now his scheming boss. The somewhat jerky plot involves a mixture of IRA and Turkish Cypriots shooting and blowing up various folk from Costa Rica to Colorado, via the suburbs of London. The author is said to have been in the security services himself and seems to know a mass of detail about the administrative workings of the various outfits, which he rams mercilessly down the reader’s throat.
The yarn is entertaining enough, but unfortunately, he is not a very good writer. The dialogue is often unrealistic and his style is irritatingly pedantic, with the action constantly slowed by endless irrelevancies and tedious, repetitive descriptions of every car, plane and gun in the story. The reader does not really want to know about every car door being opened, each gear change and flick of the traffic indicators. If Hodder & Stoughton were to invest in a really strict copy-editor with a large blue pencil, then these books would be greatly improved. One of the blurbs on the dust jacket compares the author with John le Carré, but it has to be said that this book is a pale reflection of the products of that master of the English language.
- Author of the highly acclaimed Crowner John series set in Medieval Devon)