Readers’ taste for densely packed, fast-moving political thrillers remains as keen as ever, and it is good to welcome Peter Murphy to the ranks of the best practitioners in the field with this weighty and impressive novel. The American president, Steve Wade, is sure that he has kept his relations with a seductive Lebanese woman clandestine, but then she is killed, and FBI operative Kelly Smith is assigned to investigate the death. What comes to light is a series of sinister connections between fanatical white supremacists and dangerous enemies abroad. Apart from the skilful mechanics of the thriller plotting, one of the pleasures here is the plausible laying out of the machinations of the American government. The writer Clem Chambers, enlisted for an endorsement, evokes the superb political thriller Seven Days In May as a yardstick here, and to his credit, Murphy is able to justify that daunting comparison.

Barry Forshaw

Removal by Peter Murphy is published by No Exit Press

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