Dark Market by Frank Coles both entertained and infuriated me (often at the same time). I’m not a big fan of the Jack Reacher type of Teflon-coated action man and the central character in Dark Market, John Savage, definitely falls into that category. However, there is something very human about Savage which made me root for him, even when part of my brain was saying, oh for goodness sake, surely with so many guns and so much muscle against him he should be dead by now!
This is, first and foremost, an action novel, but it is saved from being a predictable shoot-em-up by a complex and well thought out plot. John Savage is an investigator for the Financial Services Agency, but if this is the type of person they are now using I would say the banking world should be trembling in fear. Savage returns from the Middle East, where he has been working as a mercenary, after he finds a link between a murdered news reporter and the suicide he’d caused years earlier. Once back in his old job at the bank he begins to delve into crimes, cover ups, scandal and intrigue on a massive scale. The dark market of the title refers to a ‘game’ whereby anyone with the right amount of money can arrange for whoever they choose to be an assassin’s target and the bank is facilitating it. A premise disturbingly possible.
I found the book’s opening section less than engrossing, but I’m glad I persevered because the book gets better and better as it progresses. Characterisation is good; even though most of the characters are a bit OTT, they are still credible.
Would I read another John Savage tale of death and destruction if Frank Coles produces one? On balance, yes, I would.