A SPECIAL REVIEW FROM THE BLOG:
Promoting Crime Fiction by Lizzie Hayes
Harry Top is a slightly unusual, independent journalist. He lives in a flat in Bury St Edmunds and owns one ninth of an old Gypsy Moth plane that he flies by the seat of his pants and a Triumph Bonneville motorbike that is the love of his life.
Returning home one evening Harry finds that his flat has been maliciously turned over although nothing has been taken. Shortly afterwards the explanation for this strange turn of events appears on his doorstep in the form of Erica, a volatile and unpredictable old German girlfriend. Harry, now thirty-two, first met Erica, now forty-seven, in Leipzig when he was a student there. They have had an on/off – more off than on – relationship ever since, during which time Erica has had son, Stefan, by another man, Karl Fisher. Harry is still obsessed with Erica and will do anything for her, but she is still in love with Karl, even though she also hates him.
Erica informs Harry that she has a file implicating several British subjects as past members of the Stasi and current members of its modern arm known as the Kameraden. These individuals include the Home Secretary, a university lecturer, an accountant, and Marianne Corbishly, a rarely seen and elusive creature who runs the movement in England. Erica tells Harry that agents of the Kameraden have damaged his flat because of his past association with her. He has, she says, to take her somewhere safe. Harry immediately bends to her will and installs Erica, Stefan and himself in a grand house that belongs to a friend of his on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds.
Harry sees a great spy story in the making and sets about obtaining evidence that the British people who spied for the Stasi are still active in Britain today. The very idea that supposed pillars of the establishment are still working against his country fills Harry with horror. He confronts all the spies, other than the government minister, with their wrongdoing. Although he learns little, he is puzzled by the hold that the Germans still have over their ex-Stasi, British stooges. Harry is not the only person interested in the Kameraden, and his exploits lead to him becoming involved with MI6 who ship him off to Germany. Theoretically this is to keep him safe, but actually they want more evidence against the spies. Harry is quite happy about the danger he is running because, not only does he believe that he is onto the scoop of a lifetime, he also hopes to uncover aspects of his father’s personal history that have puzzled him for most of his life.
Meanwhile, whilst Harry is away, the countdown to Brexit continues and Erica receives a visitor. Karl Fisher no less, the man she loves and the man who trained and brainwashed her. There is something he wants her to do. In return he promises a new and affluent life – and marriage. We learn that the current aim of the Kameraden is to stop Brexit because they see an independent Britain as a threat to their ability to control Europe. If Erica agrees to help, they will go to extreme lengths to stop the British government signing the exit agreement. What will Erica decide to do? Will she do as Karl wants and throw a giant spanner in the Brexit plans, or will she stay loyal to Harry and England?
Exit Day is an entertaining, well-written, well- informed story that moves along a good pace. Those who enjoy the underhand machinations of politicians and security agencies coupled with the adventurous antics of a well-meaning, likeable young hero will enjoy this book.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This was an exciting thriller that I will not soon forget. Had some difficulty falling asleep having read it. The writer depicts some super stressful situations that have a significant impact on the lives of the characters. I highly recommend this amazing book.
Julia Shkolnik (Net Galley)
A gripping read. Laws creates a scenario that seems eerily plausible in the chaotic run-up to Brexit. He takes us on a wild ride from Stasi-era Leipzig to the dark hearts of Brussels and Westminster in the company of spies, secret police files, dodgy politicians (yes, some of them are recognisable), and Harry, an irrepressible journalist bent on preventing disaster and unable to avoid it. Brexit is the centre of this tangled web. Laws is a great storyteller who leaves us guessing right up to the last page.
A well-written and fast-paced thriller with many ingenious twists and turns. Laws is very well-informed and leaves us with the unsettling feeling that there could well be a sinister subtext to Brexit.
THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
This was my first time enjoying this author and really love the characters. Fast paced action that kept me wanting more.
If you enjoy page-turning mysteries and thrillers with snappy dialogue, flawed characters, and a little cross-Atlantic humour then this is the book for you.
Kelly Watley, NetGalley Team
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A twister and turner of a novel, based around Brecht and Great Britain’s choice to leave. Full of intrigue and revelations of past lives from prominent figures. Harry struggles to gather all the evidence, but finds more information from “the blue list”
With a huge twist at the end, this book had me dangling right till the last word.
A cracker! – Laura Jay (NetGalley)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This story got better as it went along. Harry Topp is a journalist who works free lance. Erica who lived with him some time ago shows up on his door step with her son. Erica brings nothing but trouble with Harry having to move out of his place and stay at a friend’s to be safe. Erica and her son move in with him. The days are counting down to Brexit and which direction will Britain go with the possible change. Are there other factors involved to influence what the outcome will be in the end. Erica brings with her a list of old spies who might be in the present administration in Britain. How will it all turn out? –
Nancy Witt (NetGalley)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This is a very entertaining read, cleverly written, weaving together a tale of a sinister underground spy ring infiltrating government at the highest levels, and attempting to stop Brexit, culminating in an exciting climax at Chequers, country house retreat of the Prime Minister. This story is a tangled web of deceit and intrigue involving former East German Stasi agents, but they had not taken into account our ‘Boys Own Hero’ Harry Topp a fearless journalist, and seeker of truth and justice while travelling around the country on his vintage Triumph Bonneville, and piloting an ancient Tiger Moth.
Gripping sinister with an array of well observed characters who bring this story to life.
Recommended. – John McCormick
With British politics in meltdown as Brexit Day looms, ruthless fanatics with forgotten ambitions emerge from the European shadows.David Laws’ cliffhanging denouement throws up shock after shock as MI6 gets in on the final act. Hugely enjoyable.
– Tony Boullemier (Author of The Little Book of Monarchs)
Hold on to your flying helmets, we have a new hero. Ace journalist Harry Topp will stop at nothing in his quest for the truth — and that includes crashing his Tiger Moth aeroplane in very sensitive areas.
At the time of writing there has been little or no fact about Britain’s exit from the European Union. So how about a little exciting fiction instead? This story of treachery has thrills galore, involving deadly East German Stasi agents who will stop at nothing to thwart Brexit.
Harry, despite having been rejected by his employers at The Globe newspaper, proves he is on top of his game. Using his vintage Triumph Bonneville motorcycle he chases around the English countryside fearlessly seeking the truth. This leads him to the innermost corridors of the British establishment including Downing Street and Chequers.
Added to this intoxicating cocktail of intrigue is Harry’s former lover Erika who is tied up in the web of deceit and presents him with a list of Stasi agents who are plying their undercover trade in Britain. Danger lurks at every step.
This cleverly written book is a real page turner which you will find hard to put down. But be warned — the excitement may keep you awake at night. Don’t have nightmares! – Alastair McIntyre, Editor, Daily Drone
A ring of spies has been infiltrated into Britain whose aim is to stop Brexit happening now – or ever. This is the theme of David Laws’ new novel Exit Day which treats the reader to a feast of conspiracy, chaos and treachery.
The unlikely hero of the story is journalist Harry Topp who, with luck and skill, uncovers a murky world where the “will of the people” to exit the European Union is dramatically foiled. To this end, thanks to a romantic encounter in his past, Harry is given a list of foreign agents.
On the list is a high-ranking British government minister as well as one of Harry’s closest friends.
Can he believe the list is genuine? As he wrestles with the web of lies he finds himself at the centre of a battle between rival undercover manipulators intent on corrupting the EU from within.
Just as Harry gets close to the truth he finds his own life threatened from someone he least suspects. – Ray King
Thrills and uncertainty, lies and obfuscation, fury and frustration…that’s the Brexit story as it is fed to us day-to-day by blustering politicians and by journalists trying to make sense of it all.
To the average punter, excitement over the issue tends to be stifled by bafflement over the sheer complexity of what sounded so simple – we just quit, right? Er, no.
David Laws’s fictional day-by-day parallel of Brexit’s progress takes us into a higher realm of political skulduggery, right up to an assassination plot.
Exit Day is a thrilling, perfectly contemporary ‘What if…?’ tale. Conspiracy theorists, form a queue right here.
After a scene-setter in Leipzig at the time of the 1989 collapse of Soviet dominance in eastern Europe, Laws moves to March 2, 2019, 27 days before Brexit. Then follows a chronology of events through to the ticking minutes of March 29 itself and beyond. The shortening gaps between parts of the story tend to engage the reader ever more urgently.
An anti-tank missile blasts the front door of No. 10. Journalist Harry Topp is on to a huge story about a ring of spies plotting to sabotage Exit Day, but he is out of favour after a bust-up with Fleet Street bosses and no one will listen. He finds a pistol in his kitchen. His lover goes missing.
This is a must-read in the run-up to severance (will it really happen?) from our European chums, superbly layered with the excitement missing from the real-life daily record of the Government’s torment over the conflicts and confusion of Brexit. . – Steve Wood