- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Walker & Company; 1 edition (August 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0802779999
- ISBN-13: 978-0802779991
- Source: my local library
On a humid summer night in Gibraltar, lawyer Spike Sanguinetti finds Solomon Hassan, an old school friend, waiting on his doorstep. Accused of murdering a Spanish girl in Tangiers, Solomon swears his innocence. He has managed to skip across the Straits, but the Moroccan authorities demand his return. Spike travels to Tangiers in the hope of delaying the extradition.
Solomon's boss, Nadeer-the founder of a renewable-energy company called Dunetech that is on the verge of financing an enormous solar-powered site in the Sahara-suggests that if Spike can delay Solomon's trial until after the deal is signed, he will persuade the governor of Tangiers to bury the extradition demand. Complicating this offer, Spike encounters a Bedouin girl who insists that Dunetech is engaged in a nefarious scheme linked to the disappearance of her father. As Spike uncovers the truth, he finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into a world of secrets, corruption, and murderous lies.
This is a gritty story played out on unfamiliar territory for most of us - Gibraltar and Tangiers. It promises to be the beginning of a series, with the second, SIGN OF THE CROSS, already published. Spike Sanguinetti, lawyer specializing in taxation, is an interesting character but I am not sure whether I really like him.
What I did like about SHADOW OF THE ROCK were the evocative descriptions, and the sense of the meeting of cultures on both sides of the Straits of Gibraltar.
It's a plot that would only work for these modern times, with a focus on a renewable energy company building a solar powered site in the Sahara.
It is also a plot with some lovely twists. While it is a murder mystery - who really killed the girl whom Solomon Hassan is accused of murdering? - it is essentially a thriller.
My rating: 4.4
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Thomas Mogford has worked as a journalist for Time Out and as a translator for the UEFA Champions League. His first novel in the Spike Sanguinetti series, Shadow of the Rock, was published by Bloomsbury in 2012. It received a starred review from Library Journal, which described it as a 'breathtaking debut ... Mogford's exotic locales, gorgeous prose, and closing twist make this debut a showstopper'. Thomas Mogford is married and lives with his family in London.