Home Run

I first read Home Run in 1989 when it came out in hardback. I finally had a chance to read it again in 2007.

Mattie Furness is a veteran MI6 agent with years of experience in Iran where he was based prior to the 1979 revolution. While there he made friends with a local family. After the revolution most of the family are killed and Mattie continues a close friendship their son, Charlie.

Now it is 1987 and the Iran-Iraq war is ongoing. Charlie is making trips into Iran with the help of Mattie. In return he brings out useful pieces of intelligence. But he also bring out drugs to help fund his campaign against those who convicted and executed his sister.

When a politician’s daughter dies with an overdose the PM puts pressure on the police and customs to arrest those who supplied her the drugs. The trail eventually leads to Charlie and a connection is made to Mattie Furness. Customs are warned off much to the dismay of David Park and his team of investigators. Eventually they are told to facilitate Charlie’s latest mission to Iran .

Meanwhile the new DG of MI6 orders Mattie Furness to turkey to meet personally with his small network of Iranian informers in the hope of encouraging them to produce more impressive intelligence. Basic mistakes ensure that Furness is captured. Will he be able to protect his network and Charlie?

This was one of Seymour’s best books from the 1980s. It is particularly good at outlining the compromises that are made between various government departments. Seymour also develops a good character in Charlie – he’s a drug traffiker, but he’s likeable and is only doing it to raise money to avenge his sister.

A reference is made at one point to the previous book At Close Quarters, and the operation to send an Israeli hit-man in the Lebanon. Also the safe house from The Contract and At Close Quarters reappear, as does the character of Henry Carter

Incidentally the US title of the book is The Running Target, presumably to prevent people thinking it was a book about baseball!