Book Review of ‘Rocco and the Price of Lies’ by Adrian Magson
Genre: Crime Thriller/ Historical
Published: April 25th 2019 by The Dome Press
Swathi’s Rating: 4.5/5
I am so excited to share my thoughts on this Crime Thriller set in the 60s – 70s. It’s dark and exhilarating and a completely unique crime thriller I have read this year! Also, read an EXCLUSIVE extract from the book as you scroll down the page. The Dome Press had given me the permission to publish a particularly interesting chapter extracted from the book and I swear it’s SOO GOOD!!
Murder by suicide? Three senior government officials – a judge, a politician, and an ex-police chief – are all dead by their own hands.
Inspector Lucas Rocco finds himself once more working for the Interior Ministry: undertaking an investigation meant to avoid a government scandal and ignoring unpalatable truths. He’s soon convinced that a common denominator must be at play…
Rocco uncovers top-level fraud, theft and deception. And when he narrowly survives an attempt on his life, he realises that he has nothing to lose by bringing the truth out in to the open – whatever the risks.Amazon
Rocco and the Price of Lies is the sixth installment to Lucas Rocco series of thrillers. Yet, I felt no difficulty reading this book straight away without reading the previous ones. Can easily be read as a standalone.
The book opens with a prominent person of the community receiving an envelope full of threatening photographs. So threatening that he decides to take his life with his shotgun. He knows those photographs would interest any investigator handling his case, so he leaves those on his table before shooting himself. We are also exposed to the dark communication between the shot caller and the hitmen who execute such threats.
Lucas Rocco is summoned by the Internal Ministry to help investigate these suicides and he is quite intrigued by the nature of these deaths and the blackmail letters the victims received. As he starts to follow every possible lead he gets, obstacles are thrown from the top of food chain. But he won’t back away till he gets to the very top.
This novel is definitely a different pick to my usual thriller reads. It’s based in the 70s and it goes in a relatively calm pace detailing the atmosphere of the plot. Since it is from a different era that we live, the importance of these threats and blackmails might not be as dangerous and life threatening to our lifestyle as it would have been in the 70s. Which is why Adrian draws a vivid picture of the characters and the dark world that ruled their lives.
I loved every chapter of the book because I learned something new about the times I have never lived in. Adrian Magson does a wonderful job in painting a brilliant picture of his characters, the police procedurals and the operation of the underworld. Even with all those multilayered details, he manages to keep the chapters short and crisp! The pages turn themselves until I found myself reading the very last chapter. I highly recommend this book to Crime thriller fans who are open to acquire knowledge about the investigative techniques that were not induced by the modern technology.
I am so glad I picked this book. My sincere thanks to The Dome Press for this unique book and inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour. I am so honored. Here are some lovely bloggers talking about the book.
Extract from the Book:
One the south-eastern outskirts of Paris, in the district of Ivry-sur-Seine, Yuri Serban sat back in his chair and stared through the window towards the centre of Paris, which shimmered in the heat a few kilometres away.
Serban was not averse to taking risks. In his trade, which mostly entailed making money in any way he could manage, whether through manipulation of circumstances, argument or outright force, they came with the territory. Profit was profit and if it meant taking from others – and it usually did – so be it. However, this latest endeavour was a departure. He had taken a while to be convinced that it would work, but the lack of manpower required and the apparent absence of direct risk had seemed attractive, as had the potential returns. Most importantly, the scheme avoided stepping on the toes of the more powerful criminal groups closer to the centre of the city. And this had been sufficient to clinch his co-operation.
He enjoyed the irony of the situation: that the targets for the scheme proposed were not in any position to go running to the law, something he knew the other gangs would quickly pick up on once they heard. Even more of a reason to get in, make a profit and move on before they came calling, looking to take over. Serban was no coward, but he knew his limits. He wasn’t equipped for a fight with bigger organisations, preferring to stay out here in Ivry-sur-Seine where he could run his businesses and his lines of girls and clubs, away from the furious undercurrents that had dragged other groups into open conflict, burning businesses and freedom of movement in a vicious downward spiral.
He reached forward and picked up the telephone, dialling a number in the city.
‘My driver has made the first drop.’ His voice was soft but echoed deep from his large chest. A former boxer and wrestler, he still carried an impressive amount of muscle, something that had done him no harm in establishing his local crime operation.
‘Excellent. We should hear something very soon.’ The voice on the other end was cultured, the tone confident and pitched to convince and reassure. Yet there was an undercurrent of something else, too, which appealed to Serban: was it relief? Gratitude for a service rendered?
‘I sincerely hope so,’ Serban murmured, adding for good measure, ‘for everyone’s sake.’ This last came with an emphasis which the other man couldn’t fail to notice.
‘Of course, I understand,’ he agreed quickly. ‘I’m certain it will.’
Serban smiled. He wasn’t convinced by the reply but neither was he duly concerned. He’d learned long ago that all guarantees were subject to change. In his view trust was a strictly one-way street. And the man on the other end of the line was someone he wouldn’t trust if his life depended on it. However, he was useful in a number of ways and, in Serban’s business, that counted for a lot. This endeavour – he liked the word endeavour, which sounded almost noble – had yet to show signs of reaping any reward, but it had cost little more to set up than Peretz’s daily wage and the provision of a suitable vehicle. Most endeavours cost a great deal more and they too brought varying degrees of success.
‘And if it doesn’t?’
‘What if your scheme doesn’t work?’
There was a brief pause as the reminder of whose idea it had been sank in. ‘I’m sure it will. In any case, that’s why I prepared the other two to fill any… shortfall. You have the details, don’t you?’
‘I have.’ Serban reached into a drawer and took out three photographs and a sheet of paper. The paper held three names and addresses. The photos were of paintings: two nudes and a clothed portrait. He studied the latter carefully. It was of a young woman with an inviting expression. He liked this one best. He had young women in his employ who would be naked at the click of his fingers, but this one was different. He wasn’t an art lover as such, but he could appreciate beauty like any other man. Maybe he’d buy some paintings of his own some day. An investment for the future. Good ones, though. Proper paintings, not copies like these.
‘Your man is delivering them soon, as arranged?’
Serban took a moment before replying. His patience was wearing thin at the other man’s superior attitude, as if he were the master and Serban the slave. One day he might enjoy the pleasure of putting him in his place. ‘He will deliver them soon,’ he confirmed. ‘There’s no rush.’
‘As you see fit.’ There was a pause. ‘I believe I did caution you that this scheme might not work every time. However, there are plenty more opportunities like these out there. All we need to do is exploit them.’
‘If you say so.’
‘Well, I haven’t let you down in the past, have I?’
Serban put the telephone down without answering. It was a trick he’d learned some time ago, and it worked well with those in a more vulnerable position than himself. The sudden cut in the connection acted like a physical turning and walking away from a conversation, leaving the other wondering what had gone wrong, what they might have said.
He tossed the photos back in the drawer, on top of three letters. He wasn’t supposed to have seen these, which had been in sealed envelopes, but he’d taken the precaution of opening them and having copies made. Being used as a mail service to deliver sealed letters was akin to playing with unstable explosives: if you didn’t know what you were handling, it could blow up in your face.
And Serban hated surprises.
Hailed by the Daily Mail as “a classic crime star in the making”, Adrian had written 21 crime and spy thriller books based around: Gavin & Palmer (investigative reporter Riley Gavin and ex-military policeman Frank Palmer; Harry Tate, ex-soldier and MI5 officer; Inspector Lucas Rocco; Marc Portman (The Watchman); investigators Ruth Gonzales and Andy Vaslik.
Adrian also has hundreds of short stories and articles in national and international magazines to his name, plus a non-fiction work: Write On! – The Writer’s Help Book (Accent Press).
Adrian lives in the Forest of Dean and rumours that he is building a nuclear bunker are unfounded. It’s a bird’s table.