Did you hear the one about the Zionist and the pacifist who went behind enemy lines?
Greg Iles was, until a few weeks ago, an author I’d never come across – which given the cover boasts of ten million sales and has a Stephen King quote to boot, seems like an almost embarrassing admission. Now, having borrowed a copy from a friend and found within an incredibly compulsive thriller, I have gone from completely in the dark to fan.
When I was young, I never read any Alistair Maclean, but I of course watched GUNS OF NAVERONE, WHERE EAGLES DARE and ICE STATION ZEBRA when they showed up on the BBC. There’s a similar tale of derring-do here, two men sent behind enemy lines in the Second World War on a mission to stop a Nazi atrocity. But there’s more depth here than was ever in those films (as I say, I never read the novels), a sense that these actions have consequences and a proper engagement with the holocaust and the true evil of the Nazi machine. Of course, the Nazis have been go-to villains in media since 1939, but they’re not just the men in black hats here. They are given corrupted souls and proper depth, which makes them so not only more interesting, but scarier.
BLACK CROSS is a truly gripping thriller, albeit one with a clunky framing device. Get past the opening chapter though and know the last chapter might irritate you somewhat, what’s in the middle is a real treat.
My debut novel, THE WANNABES – which has been out of print for a little while – is now available for free. A supernatural thriller of beautiful actresses and deadly ambition in London town, it’s well worth your time. You can get your copy here!