The divisions between tough, streetwise British thrillers and more character-oriented literary fare is sometimes clear, but certain books refuse to fit comfortably into either category. Take the novels of Neil Cross, for instance. There is no denying, however, that Cross’ work is generally very scabrous stuff indeed: blood-boltered, hard-edged and sardonically funny, his writing is not for those who like their thrillers to be a tad more relaxing. At the centre of Cross’ unsettling narrative in Captured is the youthful Kenny, who has just weeks left to live. He wishes – before he dies – to track down a childhood friend, Callie, for kindness she showed to him years before. But she has gone missing. And why does her husband give the appearance of hiding something? Kenny finds himself with one final task…

As in the earlier Buried and Mr In-Between, Cross demonstrates a willingness to plunge into those areas other thriller writers shy away from; while the surface of the book has all the disturbing filigrees one might expect, this book (like its predecessors) is very much a novel of character.


Neil Cross


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