FORECAST FRIDAY: THIS IS THE NIGHT THEY COME FOR YOU By Robert Goddard
This is one to add to your ‘watch list’!
Robert Goddard is the master of the unexpected twist, and I always look forward to the novels. His latest, This Is The Night They Come For You (Bantam, 24 March 2022), is another cleverly plotted story that ably mixes suspense, obscure historical detail and a regular supply of surprising turns into an enjoyable concoction that kept me engrossed from beginning to end.
The plots of Goddard’s books are always difficult to explain because they move in such unexpected directions that it is hard to describe them without ruining the joy of the many surprises. Suffice to say, This Is The Night They Come For You, opens in Algiers with Superintendent Mouloud Taleb being seconded to work with a female agent, Hidouchi, from the country’s feared secret service. They are instructed to pursue a former agent, now on the run after twenty years in prison for his part in a high-level corruption scandal. Taleb is close to retirement and does not want to become caught up in dangerous conspiracies, but he is gradually drawn into Hidouchi’s search for the former agent and his mysterious backer. Meanwhile, an unexpected visit from someone in his past draws Stephen Gray out of his rural lethargy in Hampshire and sets him on the search for the real truth about his sister’s disappearance in Paris nearly sixty years ago. Two seemingly unconnected events, but in Goddard’s skilled hands they weave together into a well packaged plot that slithers along like an out-of-control snake.
In recent years Goddard seems to have moved away from his complex, intriguing historical crime novels into the thriller arena, with faster moving and often more violent tales about conspiracies and desperate characters. This Is The Night They Come For You is certainly more in the thriller field and, after a slightly slow start, the book quickly picks pace in the second half, and races from Algiers and Hampshire to violent confrontations in the French countryside and Paris.
The storyline is interesting, and Goddard’s background information on the struggle for Algerian Independence and the subsequent violent events that gripped that poor country is fascinating. The characters are well crafted and engaging, particularly the world weary Taleb who has suffered so much. The Algerian Secret Service agent Hidouchi is also an interesting character and Goddard rounds her out in unexpected ways. It is also clever how Goddard subtly weaves in references to COVID without going overboard. He makes just enough references to masks and deaths from the virus to give the book a contemporary feel, and uses the international travel restrictions to explain certain plot developments.
The end result is a very enjoyable thriller that kept me engaged all the way to the exciting conclusion and the final surprising revelations. My only complaint is the continuation, from the previous book (The Fine Art of Invisible Detection), of the cartoonish covers and the overly long titles (see below). To my mind they take away from the seriousness of the book and a give a false impression of the story. They are also not very appealing.
Four Stars out of Five!
This Is The Night They Come For You is released in the United Kingdom on 24 March 2022 and in Australia on
29 March 2022. Thanks to the British publishers and NetGalley for an electronic copy of the book.
Here is the cover for Goddard’s previous book: The Fine Art Of Invisible Detection (2021).