The Outsider
Date Published04 June 2015
Price£ 14.99

The Outsider

by Jason Dean

Close protection specialist James Bishop is called in to help a witness in a high-profile trial stay alive long enough to give evidence.


This is the fourth outing for former US Marine James Bishop, but I never felt like I was missing something coming late to the party. The Outsider is a tightly constructed thriller with a brisk pace and some genuinely shocking moments that managed to catch me quite unawares.

Close protection specialist Bishop is asked by his former lover, US Marshal Angela Delaney, to take on the job of protecting whistle-blower John Strickland and keeping him alive long enough to testify in a high-profile trial of a guy that everyone wants to see go down for his crimes. Strickland’s wife has already been killed whilst in the witness protection programme, and Delaney doesn’t want to see their star witness and his young son go the same way.

Initially, Strickland is reluctant to get involved, but when he does some research on who he’s being asked to protect, he changes his mind. After a massacre during an armed assault on the safe house, Bishop goes on the run with Strickland and his son Barney.

If you’re in a tight spot, Bishop is very definitely someone you’d want fighting your corner. He’s smart, tough and resourceful but not dripping with testosterone. I‘ve commented before that I’m a sucker for a good tale of someone on the run against seemingly insuperable odds, and The Outsider falls squarely into that court, hooking me from the start and not letting go. There were several occasions when I really couldn’t see how the hell Bishop was going to get out of trouble, but the escapes always stayed firmly on the right side of believable.

The twist in the tail was one I didn’t see coming and kudos to Dean for writing a likeable kid who doesn’t come over as though he’s straight out of a saccharine Home Alone movie. You know a book’s worked when you promptly want to grab the rest of the series, and that’s very much how I felt at the end of The Outsider.

Reviewed 16 January 2016 by Linda Wilson