Book review: The Wreckage by Michael Robotham

Take an enthralling story about an ex-cop who falls victim to a robbery in London, widen the scope to include a dangerous trail of ‘lost money’ in Baghdad and you have one of the best British crime novels currently on the market.

The Wreckage, a superb, fast-paced ‘what-if’ conspiracy thriller, comes from the pen of the talented Michael Robotham whose stories feature reckless, fast-talking Vincent Ruiz, a 60-something former policeman who doesn’t know when to stop living life on the edge.

Ruiz has made several outings now, the most famous being his dangerous escapades in the scorching best-seller Bleed for Me. Thousands of readers have fallen under the spell of our hero’s world-weary cynicism which has made his missions impossible unmissable.

Robotham’s latest offering moves into ambitious and truly international territory with a complex and compelling plot that takes in the world of banking, investigative journalism, foreign politics, terrorism and intelligence.

Set in the turbulent aftermath of the global financial crisis, the intrepid Ruiz finds himself up against powerful agents who will stop at nothing to bury secrets.

It all starts in London where Ruiz rescues a young woman from a violent boyfriend but wakes the next morning to find that he’s been set up and robbed.

As he tracks down the thieves, he discovers the boyfriend’s tortured body and learns that powerful men are looking for the girl. But what did Holly Knight steal that is so important to them?

Meanwhile in Baghdad, the bank robbery capital of the world, billions of dollars in reconstruction funds have gone missing and Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Luca Terracini is living outside the wire and trying to ‘follow the money.’

The perilous trail will lead him to London where he teams up with Ruiz and together they investigate the disappearance of an international banker and a mysterious ‘black hole’ in the bank’s accounts.

It seems powerful nations are prepared to manipulate the truth whatever the human cost...

Robotham’s writing gets better and better – his spare prose and amazingly authentic dialogue are coupled with vivid characterisation and a politically astute and convincingly real plot that positively bristles with menace.

A top-class thriller...

(Sphere, paperback, £6.99)