Reviews for Vicious Circle

Booklist Reviews 2013 September #1
Following closely on the heels of 2011's Those in Peril, this oddly paced thriller finds Hector Cross, former soldier turned wealthy landowner and businessman, grief-stricken after a devastating attack on his wife and their unborn child. He vows to find the people responsible and to make them pay for what they've done. Sounds like the makings of a really good thriller, but Smith's stately pacing and his frequently overwrought writing ("Scream as much as you like. No one will hear you. No one will come to help you. No one will believe you") makes the book a bit of a slog for readers accustomed to speedy storytelling in their action-driven thrillers. Some of Smith's prose might rub some readers the wrong way, too, when they encounter lines that seem distinctly out of place in a modern novel ("An hour dragged by like a cripple"). Recommended mainly for veteran best-seller Smith's devoted fan base; others will be disappointed. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 September #2
Smith (Those in Peril, 2011, etc.) continues the saga of Hector Cross, warrior, rich man. Hector ran Crossbow Security, until he attempted the rescue of Cayla Bannock. Cayla died, but Cross married Cayla's mother, Hazel, widowed Bannock Oil heiress. Now, Hazel's pregnant. After a gynecologist visit, the pair set out in separate vehicles for their English estate. There's an ambush. Hazel is mortally wounded, but baby Catherine Cayla is saved by cesarean. Cross believes the ambush is the "blood feud" work of the "survivors of the family of Hadji Sheikh Mohammed Khan Tippoo Tip," engineers of Cayla's kidnapping. Clan leader Aazim Muktar is in Mecca. Cross secures Catherine in a fortress atop a skyscraper in Abu Zara, fount of Bannock wealth. Cross then slips into Mecca to confront Muktar, only to learn he's a peaceful holy man. Smith simplifies narrative action with a moneyed protagonist able to afford cutting-edge weaponry and technology, and he pads the tale with a hard left turn in midstory to present a novel within a novel about the villain, Carl Peter Bannock, born Karl Pieter Kurtmeyer, spawn of a Gestapo officer adopted by Bannock Oil's founder. Carl's imprisoned for incestuous rape but is still a Bannock Trust beneficiary. He wants the final heir, Catherine, eliminated. In a Texas prison, Carl befriends Johnny Congo, aka King John Tembo Kikuu of Kazundu--refugee African royalty gone bad. Carl's released, engineers Johnny's escape, and the two psychopaths restore Johnny to his African throne. Cross learns this from a former trust lawyer. Smith's narrative is bloated, sometimes fact deficient, reliant on implausibilities, and laced with gratuitous, gut-churning violence inflicted upon innocents. The dialogue is often affectedly old world; action regularly stops to order the right wine or exotic foodstuff or summon obsequious staff. Characters are either flat or over-the-top superhumans and impervious to harm, although a bad guy does survive to populate a sequel. Not for the faint of heart, or stomach. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #3

London security expert Hector Cross, now married to Hazel Bannock ("seventh on Forbes magazine's list of the richest women in the world"), continues his battle with Somali warlord Tippoo Tip in bestseller Smith's lurid sequel to 2011's Those in Peril. Early on, a Mercedes van driven by a man wearing a Richard Nixon mask deliberately broadsides the red Ferrari that Hazel is driving on her way home to Brandon Hall, the couple's 18th-century estate outside Winchester. After extensive sleuthing and a long backstory set in a prison, Hector tracks down the perpetrators of the attack to a hilltop fortress in tiny Kazundu, "the poorest country on the African continent." Readers, especially new ones, should be prepared for descriptions of death in all its many gory possibilities, as well as scenes of rape (both hetero- and homosexual), child molestation, sexual slavery, and torture. The exciting action scenes and larger-than-life characters, though, will appeal to a broad range of thriller fans. Agent: Kevin Conroy Scott, Tibor Jones & Associates. (Oct.)

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