Bree T's Reviews > Shadow of the Rock

Shadow of the Rock by Thomas Mogford
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Oct 14, 2012

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bookshelves: arc, crime, cultural, mystery, series, gibraltar
Read from October 02 to 03, 2012

Spike Sanguinetti is a tax lawyer living in Gibraltar. He arrives home one summer night to find someone he knew from school, Soloman Hassan, waiting for him. Soloman is in trouble and on the run. A girl he was seen with was found on the beach in Tangiers, Morocco with her throat cut, death by exsanguination. He managed to escape to Gibraltar by paying his way through the passport check but now the Moroccan authorities want him back. Soloman wants Spike to help him, even though Spike hasn’t taken a criminal case in years. Reluctantly, after some persuasion, Spike does agree to take the case and see what he can do but only if Soloman agrees to go back to the authorities in Gibraltar. He can’t help him if he continues to go on the run, but if Soloman agrees to Spike’s suggestion then he will go to Tangiers and attempt to delay Soloman’s extradition there on religious vilification laws. While he attempts to get the trial conducted in Gibraltar, Spike will investigate and find out what he can.

Once in Tangiers, Spike finds himself drawn into a web of mystery and danger. His investigations lead him to the Bedouin community and a beautiful woman named Zahra, who is investigating the disappearance of her father. It seems that her father’s vanishing leads back to the company Soloman was working for, set to make a fortune by harnessing solar power and delivering it to not only Morocco but on-selling it to parts of Europe as well. It’s set to make a few people very, very rich and that can be motivation enough for murder.

Shadow Of The Rock is the first novel in the Spike Sanguinetti series and it’s a promising start. It ticks one of my boxes straight away – I’ve never read anything set partially in Gibraltar before and I’m not that familiar with Morocco either. I loved the setting, the hot sweltering days and the balmy nights. I loved the description of the seedier side of Tangiers, the bars and alleys, the Bedouin community and how it contrasted with how some of the wealthier parts of the population lived.

Spike’s hotel was another high point, especially the man on the reception desk and his proverbs every time Spike asked him a question. I also liked Spike himself and his willingness to assist Soloman, but only if Soloman handed himself over the Gibraltar authorities. Despite the fact that Spike had no real ties to Soloman, other than he was someone he knew from a little while ago, he threw himself headlong into the case, trying to track down people, find out what had happened to this girl that was murdered and clear Soloman’s name. He was tough, but not in an unbelievable sort of way, more in a dogged way.

I liked the introduction of Zahra and her quest to find out what had happened to her father. The way in which she and Spike ended up working together was perhaps a fraction far fetched, but their journey into the desert together was interesting and gave quite an insight into a different type of lifestyle and also more about the company who were going to be harnessing the electricity. Spike and Zahra made a good team and I enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. I also didn’t particularly spot the twist at the end so the fact that the book kept me surprised right until the end with the way in which things unfolded was another plus point.

This isn’t a long book and there are bits of action but there were a few sections were things slowed down quite a bit and that disrupted the flow of the book a little. I expected a lot more action and tension and less scenes of Spike just standing around talking to people. I did appreciate some of the character interactions though and I think that overall, this was a very good first book in a series. I look forward to the next Spike Sanguinetti novel, Sign Of The Cross, which will be published in 2013.

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10/01/2012 page 28

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