Stuart Field

NOBODY’S AGENT . . . Between the covers

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Nobodys Agent005Central character Ronin Nash is a Scot who found himself in America, did a spell in the armed forces, and then worked as an FBI agent. When he is sidelined as a scapegoat in a kidnap case which went tragically wrong, he retreats to a lakeside log cabin hideaway, but is recruited by his former boss to join a new outfit, the Inter-agency Investigation Bureau. He is sent to the small town of Finchley in upstate New York to find out the investigate the discovery of three dead bodies in an abandoned mine just outside the town. 

I did wonder about the wisdom of a British writer setting a novel in America. Of course, James Dover Grant (aka Lee Child) made a pretty good job of it, as did John Connolly (although he’s Irish, of course) with his Charlie Parker books. Stuart Field does pretty well at creating an authentic small town America backdrop, to be fair, and the only distractions were some odd typos which should have been spotted by the editor.

The ‘small town, big secrets’ trope has been a staple of crime fiction and movies for a long time, perhaps never better than in Bad Day at Black Rock, the superb 1955 film based on the short story “Bad Time at Honda” by Howard Breslin, but how does Nobody’s Agent match up? Very creditably, in my view. Stuart Field handles the stock characters – the town gossip, the flawed Sheriff, the maverick investigator and the suspicious townsfolk – with flair and confidence.

Stuart Field Author PictureWe learn pretty quickly that something is not quite right in Finchley, but Nash spots this, and realises he is being played. He is smart enough to let the players assume he is ignorant of what is going on and the only question in his mind is just how many of the Sheriff’s Department – and other significant townsfolk – are in on the secret.

Stuart Field (right) is a British Army veteran who now works in security after serving twenty-two years in the British Army. As well as working full time he writes in his spare time. Stuart was born and raised in the West Midlands in the UK. His love for travel has been an inspiration in some of his work with his John Steel and Ronin Nash thriller series. As well as future John Steel novels, Stuart is working on a new series and standalone novels. Nobody’s Agent is published by Next Chapter, and is available now.

ON MY SHELF . . . June 2022

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NOBODY’S AGENT by Stuart Field

Stuart Field Author PictureThis thriller is set in Finchley – not Mrs Thatcher’s old baileywick but a fictional (I believe) small town in upstate New York, where three bodies are discovered in an old mine. The local Sheriff is out of his depth, and asks the FBI for help. They persuade a former agent, Ronin Nash to take the case, but he discovers the town has a big secret which powerful people will go to any lengths to protect. The author tells us:

“Born in the West Midlands, Great Britain. Later I joined the armed forces where after 22 years of fun and adventure I left to start as a writer. Married with a daughter I still have not grown up which helps with the imagination. Love to travel and experience other cultures. Love to love life.”

Nobody’s Agent is published by Next Chapter and is available now.

LISTEN TO ME by Tess Gerritsen

Screen Shot 2022-06-10 at 20.48.18Detective Jane Rizzoli and Forensic Pathologist Maura Isles are, I think, crime fiction’s only female duo of investigators. They are certainly the best known, and the Massachusetts pair have a twelve book series (this is the thirteenth) and a popular TV show behind them. Here, they investigate the murder of a much loved nurse, Sofia Suarez, a woman much loved in the community and – seemingly – no enemies. In a parallel plot strand, Jane’s mother Angela is embarking on an investigation of her own, and it is one that will plunge both her and her daughter into danger. Published by Bantam (hardback) this will be out on 7th July.

HAWK MOUNTAIN by Conner Habib

Screen Shot 2022-06-10 at 20.49.28Described as a literary thriller, Hawk Mountain tells the story of a thirty-something man – Todd –  who is accidentally re-united with his high school tormentor. The Jack of old seems to be a reformed character, warm, radiant and sorry for his youthful misdemeanours. But is he? And was the chance reunion accidental at all? Cue a spiral of menace and entrapment which plumbs the very worst parts of the human psyche. Perhaps I don’t get out as much as I should, but I think this is the first thriller written by a former adult movie performer. He says:

“I’m the host of the podcast Against Everyone with Conner Habib, an author, a lecturer, and a sex workers’ rights advocate. I give lectures around the world about sexuality, spirituality, pornography, science, and art.”

Hawk Mountain is a Penguin book and will be out as a Kindle, audiobook and paperback on 21st July.


HallidayI missed From The Shadows, the first book in the DI Monica Kennedy series, but thoroughly enjoyed and reviewed the second, Dark Waters. Now, DI Kennedy returns with a case involving a serial killer – Pauline Tosh – who is jailed for life. When Tosh requests a visit, and hands Kennedy a sketch map of a remote marshy area with crosses marking the last resting places of more victims, the police officer is forced to take it seriously. What ensues creates a nightmare for the police and the relatives of long lost victims. Halliday creates a Scottish highlands which is a far cry from the glorious mountain vistas and the romantic skirl of the pipes. It is a place of dark secrets, bestial human behaviour and a landscape where the very stones are steeped in blood. Under The Marsh is a Vintage publication and will be on sale from 21st July.

THE WILL by Rebecca Reid

Screen Shot 2022-06-10 at 20.51.39‘The Reading of the Will’ used to be a standard trope in crime fiction years ago. Picture the scene, preferably in black and white. The fusty old solicitor addresses the family, gathered in the library of a stately old house. What he announces sets up the plot of the novel/film, and pitches different family members against each other. Rebecca Reid revives this chestnut, and gives it a modern slant, when the family of the recently deceased Cecily Mordaunt gather in Norfolk at Roxborough Hall, each hoping to leave the scene as significant beneficiaries of the old lady. Of course there is disappointment and joy – which will lead to chicanery and revenge. Rebecca Reid is a freelance journalist. She graduated from Royal Holloway’s Creative Writing MA in 2015. She is the author of Perfect Liars, Truth Hurts, Two Wrongs and The Power of Rude. The Will is her latest book, and joins two of the other novels in this post in being published on 21st July.

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