Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Notes — The Shadow Of The Rock, Off To Tangiers

Thomas Mogford

Today the range of crime fiction has grown preposterously large with additional categories and sub categories. This is the way of the world. Our digital society has allowed and encouraged specialization and fragmentation.  In one sense this evolvement enables us to focus on just those things we’re most likely to enjoy. But in the world of books, the sheer number of them, makes it more difficult, to find the books we want to read.

Thank goodness for friends.  A good writer-friend and mentor suggested I read Shadow Of The Rock by Thomas Mogford.  It is the first in a series of books featuring Gibraltar attorney Spike Sanguinetti.   Spike has no extraordinary skills (invisibility for example), isn’t particularly tough (though tough enough), has no overriding, uncompromising mission in life, and he isn’t battling addiction. He’s like most of us. He doesn’t live in a dystopian future, have psychic abilities or spend every spare moment tending orchids or a tortured soul. Fortunately for the reader, he does get into trouble. And I enjoyed the exciting yet believable way he gets out of it.

I don’t know what you call this kind of book, exactly, but it’s the kind of book I look for — a story about a person living an ordinary life who finds himself in an extraordinary situation in an exotic locale.

In this first book of the series, Spike is asked to help someone he knows who is wanted for murder in Tangiers, a stone’s throw geographically from Spike’s law firm in Gibraltar, but light years away, culturally. Moroccan authorities want to extradite this guy to stand trial. However the accused is Jewish. There is doubt he could survive the incarceration let alone get a fair trial. Spike promises to do what he can legally to at least squelch extradition. His trip to Tangiers turns out to be far more than the battle with bureaucracy he anticipates.

The second book in the series is Sign of the Cross.  Hollow Mountain, the third, is due out this August. Looks like I’ll be spending more time in Tangiers.

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