One False Move

Written by Robert Goddard

Review written by Gwen Moffat

Gwen Moffat lives in Cumbria. Her novels are set in remote communities ranging from the Hebrides to the American West. The crimes fit their environment, swelling that dreadful record of sin in the smiling countryside cited by Sherlock Holmes.

One False Move
RRP: £7.99
Released: October 17 2019

In One False Move the theme is the familiar one of greed: vast fortunes at stake but accessible only to one person. Joe Roberts is a dull fellow, naïve and vulnerable but a computer genius of inestimable value to criminals of every shade from gangsters to MI6, to governments at home and abroad, and to on-line games companies.

Currently Joe is sequestered in a large house outside Falmouth happily hacking away on the internet, cheating super systems, unaware and uncaring that he is by way of being a golden goose for his immediate employer:  an efficient but brutal thug, a cog in organised crime.

This nefarious idyll is threatened by the arrival of Nicole Nevinson, modern and pushy, a head-hunter for a leading games company, her mission to secure Joe’s services at any price.  She gains access to the mansion easily:  an off-beat monstrosity of many “lounges” and corridors like a grand hotel but serviced by one cleaner, the thug and his slatternly wife. Almost without preamble the action starts: sudden, shocking and crude and Nicole retreats, badly shaken. She gets short shrift from her own boss: a slave driver at the end of the telephone who demands she knuckles down to her assignment. Now she’s in a cleft stick: of losing her job if she doesn’t comply, of extreme violence if she does. She needs a plan, she needs help.

New characters appear, apparently unconnected, apparently amiable; if not to be trusted on sight at least they are not hostile. She worms her way into a local computer games club where Joe puts in an appearance. She makes friends, tries to chat up the taciturn genius taking a room in his mother’s guest house. She meets Forrester, a grizzled driving instructor, a mystery man whose expertise is surely in some discipline more complex than teaching road skills. And there is Ursula, a middle-aged, middle income civil servant from London ostensibly looking into tax issues which, given that this is a crime novel, gives her a sinister aura from the start.

This is a thriller, there is little mystery. The villains are obvious: twopence-coloured: the good knights reveal themselves quickly, particularly the dour Forrester but he is forced to tell Nicole his story for he has arrived at an impasse in his personal mission, which has become embroiled with hers. There are two murders, she is implicated and goes on the run, lost and confused and forced to accept the subversive dominance of the driving instructor now revealed as a disgraced spook.  Hunted by several gangs of criminals, by emissaries of more than one government, the unlikely couple set out to rescue Joe from the clutches of MI6 and GCHQ.

With echoes of The Thirty Nine Steps, and the Bond legend this one’s as macho as they come with Nicole a daft character, walking into every trap as it presents itself, the action picking up with the arrival of Forrester and a shadowy mole.

Could do with some pruning in the first half but otherwise One False Move is a rattling good yarn: one for the boys.

Editor’s Note: Shotsmag review of the hardcover edition is available HERE

Book Reviews
About Us
Contact Us

Privacy Policy | Contact Shots Editor