Exclusive Book Review: ‘Stealth’ by Hugh Fraser.

An action-packed thriller with a powerful heroine.” – a CUB must-read!

London, 1967. A working girl is brutally murdered in a club in Soho. Trained by her own life experiences, Rina Walker takes out the killer. However, in doing so, she inadvertently attracts the attention of sinister individuals who belong to gangs and organisations within London’s criminal underworld. When she fails to fulfil a contract issued by an inmate of Broadmoor prison, Rina’s on the radar of a member of British Military Intelligence, who forces her into the perilous world of the Cold War. With orders to kill an enemy agent, Rina must use all her skills, not only to survive, but also to protect those that she loves.

Although this novel is the fourth in the Rina Walker series, I did not feel that this was the case; Fraser provided brief summaries of Rina’s past and how she came into contact with certain people. These little overviews were very helpful as they filled me in on some background information which subsequently provided greater character depth of Rina. The plot is fast-paced and action-packed (with Rina kicking some serious butt), and just when she thought that she could safely get on with her life, she would have another contract to complete. It is not action all the time however. There are moments within the book that allow you to breathe and supply you with some lovely emotional scenes that build on the relationship between Rina and her lover, Lizzie.

I loved the authenticity of the period in which this book is set.  Readers are immersed in the Swinging Sixties with references to music, fashion and cars that were all present at this time. I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and been transported back to an era where things were very different to now. The setting was simultaneously familiar and strange to me because even though the book is predominantly set in London, it is in a time that I haven’t witnessed first-hand myself. Fraser doesn’t just tell you about the late ‘60s, but shows you and he does a brilliant job of it too.

The character of Rina is so likeable as a protagonist; she is strong, independent and capable of bringing people to justice who would otherwise evade it if situations were left to government authorities. She is an assassin-for-hire which might make you regard her as cold-hearted and unfeeling. However, she has morals and very strong ones which, although get her in a bit of trouble, make you respect her and view her as human. A few concise synopses of Rina’s earlier life evoked sympathy from me because she had such a tough beginning. Instead of that crushing her, she has fought back and made a way in life for both herself and her younger sister, Georgie. Moments between Rina and Lizzie were raw and heartfelt, and I was glad to see that she had found a means of happiness with someone she truly loves.

Overall, Stealth is a thriller full of action with a tough and capable heroine at its heart. You will be transported back to the Swinging Sixties and London’s criminal underworld. Although this is the fourth book in the Rina Walker series, this works perfectly as a standalone novel, and I will definitely be reading the previous three novels.

Rating: 5/5

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