I have to confess that I’m not normally one for thrillers. Not entirely sure why; it dates to before Dan Brown so I can’t really blame him, and it’s nothing to do with le Carre cos I’ve read loads of his stuff, so it may just be one of those inexplicable things.

But I heard Robert Harris being interviewed on the radio when The Ghost was about to be published and it sounded sufficiently intriguing that I bought it when it came out, and its been sitting on my shelf until I decided that I wanted a break from the beginning-of-the-year-sc-fi-fest and picked it up.

And read it very,very quickly.

So our hero is a ghost writer who normally deals with the scandal-packed lives of celebrities but is catapulted into the world of politics when the man helping a former British Prime Minister write his memoirs drowns after falling overboard from a ferry in Martha’s Vineyard. Said book has a big advance attached to it and so has to be delivered on time. Things get a little more pressured when said PM looks like he’s going to be charged for war crimes in relation to a conflict not a million miles away from what’s going on at the moment. And our hero delves more than he should and finds out stuff that he shouldn’t and, well, it all gets a bit exciting.

I couldn’t put this down. Another book that almost had me missing my stop when I was reading on the train, it’s very well written, well-paced, has you entertained as you try to work out how much of the PM is based on Tony Blair, how much his wife is like Cherie, who the other political figures might be based on. And it was timely reading given that the Iraq enquiry is underway in London at the moment and a lot of the subject matter covered in this story is being openly debated. Well, as open as any inquiry into something like this ever can be.

Polanski has directed the film version which will come out shortly (starring Pierce Brosnan and Ewan McGregor) and I’ll be interested to see how that all works.

Very enjoyable and certainly recommended if you like a political thriller.

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