Read of the Week

Predator

Wilbur Smith with Tom Cain

HarperCollins

Review: Brian Joss

Predator is the third in the series featuring Major Hector Cross, a former SAS officer and a security expert; the other two were Those In Peril and Vicious Circle (all reviewed) but this is the first book written in collaboration with another author, Tom Cain, who is apparently well known for his Samuel Carver thrillers, a hit man, none of which I have read.

In Predator, Cross is now a millionaire after his wife, Hazel Bannock of Bannock Oil, was murdered. He is also the proud father of a baby girl, Catherine, who is the apple of his eye.

He has a score to settle with Hazel’s killer, Johnny Congo, whose lover Carl Bannock was fed to the crocodiles in a remote African kingdom.

Much to his regret, human rights lawyer Jo Stanley, now Cross’s partner, convinced him to hand Congo over to the US authorities who wanted him for numerous heinous crimes, and who put him on death row, at a maximum security prison in Huntsville.

However, the man-giant, Congo, manages to escape through a clever and daring prison break. Now he is out to get Cross who, meanwhile, learns that the Magna Grande oil field where the Bannock A, an onboard refinery is operating, is under threat.

So Cross springs into action and assembles his most trusted lieutenants, among them Paddy O’Quinn and his wife, Nastiya, and computer geek, Dave Imbiss, to stop the terrorists who are targeting Bannock Oil.

That’s the story line which has a lot of layers: crooked lawyers who are after the Bannock Oil Trust Fund; share manipulation; murder and mayhem, as well as the Interceptor, a racing craft of which only very few were built, and that can travel at the speed of sound, or so Smith and Cain would have us believe.

Predator is certainly no page-turner but it will keep you interested – only just.

It’s quite boring in parts, and a lot of the dialogue doesn’t ring true. But Smith fans will love it.

However, I think it is time for the best-selling author to pack away his pen for good.