The Collaborator

I’ve been reading Gerald Seymour’s novels since 1987 and each new novel is a highlight of my year’s reading. This year sees the publication of his 26th novel, The Collaborator.

In this one he retreats from his usual look at terrorism and focuses on organised crime. He did this before, most notably in Killing Ground, The Untouchable and to some degree in Rat Run.

The main character is Eddie Deacon, a young English teacher who meets and falls in love with an Italian girl called Immacolata Borelli whom he immediately calls “Mac”.

Unknown to him she is part of a Camorra clan, one of the organised crime families in Naples who run protection rackets with impunity. She is in London with her brother who is on the run from the Italian authorities. When she secretly travels back to Italy to attend the funeral of a friend she is met with hostility and is humiliated by her friend’s parents. It turns out that her friends death was partly the fault of the Borelli family. Immacolata resolves to collaborate with the prosecutors and give evidence against her family.

When “Mac” vanishes off the face of the earth Eddie decides to follow her. He heads to Naples to find her and falls into the clutches of her hideous grandparents and their enforcer who want to use him as leverage against her. Eddie finds himself held prisoner and he has to discover if he has the strength that will let him endure and escape.

The other main character is Lukas, an American formerly of the FBI who now travels to troublespots around the world when his expertise is needed to help release hostages.

This is another excellent entry into my Seymour collection. The book is a slight departure from the norm as there is very little British involvement. Usually we get a glimpse of the workings of MI5 and MI6. In this book they are notable by their absence. The vast majority of the book is set in Italy, principally Naples. Seymour does a good job describing Naples as a dangerous place, in particular the bits the tourists don’t get to see.