Dead Line
PublisherFaber and Faber
Date Published03 April 2014
Price£ 7.99

Dead Line

by Chris Ewan

Daniel Trent is a specialist in hostage negotiation, but this time it’s personal. It’s his own girlfriend who has gone missing, and to find out the truth of her disappearance, Trent first has to negotiate the freedom of the man he thinks is responsible.


Daniel Trent is a specialist in hostage negotiation, but this time events are far too close to home for comfort. His fiancée has gone missing and while he has his chief suspect, Marseilles crime lord Jérome Moreau, under surveillance, Moreau is snatched in a daring attack on a lonely road, spirited away by armed men under the noses of both Trent and Moreau’s bodyguard.

Trent is thrown headfirst into an uneasy alliance with Moreau’s glamorous wife, Stephanie, his dissolute son, Philippe and Alain, Moreau’s bodyguard, a man who definitely doesn’t trust Trent as far as he can throw him. An anxious wait for the kidnappers to make contact follows, and when they do, Trent needs to employ all his skills and experience to make Alain and Moreau’s family work together as a team to secure his release.

Chris Ewan paints a convincing picture of Daniel Trent as a highly-experienced specialist in a shadowy occupation often working against, rather than with, the authorities. It’s not Trent’s concern to bring the kidnappers to justice – it’s simply his job to make sure that the hostage is released without harm. While Trent’s fiancée, Aimée, remains off-stage, it’s quite difficult to maintain much of an interest in her fate, whereas bodyguard Alain and Moreau’s dysfunctional family rapidly come to life.

This is a book that demands a reasonable degree of attention though its various twists and turns and occasionally I found myself floundering, but never so much that it became impossible to follow. The setting of Marseilles and its surrounding countryside are well-used and the closing stages played out in an impressively tense atmosphere of cross, double-cross and violence.

It’s hard to tell whether the book has been written as a standalone or the start of a series, but either way, Dead Line is a satisfying read.

Reviewed 14 June 2014 by Linda Wilson