On first appearance Luca Voss is nothing more than an international playboy. A fan of fast cars, gadgets and beautiful women. But, underneath lies a highly skilled and trained secret agent in the employ of the ancient and secretive Seven Families. When two of Voss’ colleagues including the lead agent “The Broker” are murdered he sets out to find out what they were working on and fights against the clock to prevent an international emergency.
From the opening chapter, when a Japanese ship is commandeered by mercenaries, kidnapping their smuggled passengers, I was hooked. I had read that this was a must read for fans of John le Carre. I’m actually not a fan of his, having read a few of his books I find them very slow, intellectually confusing and I get lost in the secrets like a child in Hampton Court Maze. The Secret Broker is none of these things, it is fast paced, full of twists and turns and quick reveals. You can read the entire book in the time in take le Carre’s character to order a drink at the bar. So, if you’re a fan of le Carre maybe give it a miss but if you’re a fan of more modern mystery filled thrillers by the likes of Steve Berry, Chris Kuzneski and Raymond Khoury then this has to go on your to read list.
As a debut novel The Secret Broker is well written, Crane has done his research and his portrayal of the international political climate whilst manipulated to make his story is believable. Similarly the back story to the power of the Seven Families is intriguing but not ludicrous ensuring the conspiracy doesn’t take over the book.
There is still some development of characters to be done and I hope to see more depth and consistency should the characters continue in subsequent books. Voss is highly dependent on his assistance and lover JJ. Whilst her power of seduction is key to her role, I don’t think the “romping” scenes with Voss and other characters brings much to the book. If anything it made it feel dated, a scene written to titillate the older male reader maybe?
The Secret Broker will not test your intelligence nor stimulate debate but like a good action film if you’re willing to suspend reality for a short period it’s a fantastic thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing till the end.
I hope to see more of Luca Voss and the Seven Families in the future.