The Untouchable

“Mister” Albert Packer is king of the British underworld. He likes to think of himself as untouchable and respected. He’s tired of being the big fish in a small pond so he heads off for Sarajevo in order to do business with the other big players.

The British Customs and Excise find out, and they think “Mister” will make a mistake on foreign soil so they send the obsessed Joey Cann after Packer with the objective of gathering evidence.

This is an excellent book. For a thriller there is relatively little action, but it’s suspenseful throughout. There is a momentum to the story-telling and you need to keep reading to find out what the destination is. Along the way we meet a varied cast of characters, most having reasons to be in Bosnia and a lot wishing they were not. Sarajevo itself becomes a character, still ruined after five years of “peace”.

Interspersed throughout the narrative are flashbacks to various points during the last ten years to a valley that has been mined. Eventually the two story strands satisfyingly meet.

For what it’s worth, one of the unused titles, Groundfire, I would imagine refers to the mines, and the other, Meaning No Evil, is a quote from page 310. I quite like that last one and it makes sense if you’ve read to the last page. Well worth a look.