RUBICON by Ian Patrick - a review
'Two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.
Sam Batford is an undercover officer with the Metropolitan Police who will stop at nothing to get his hands on fearsome crime-lord Vincenzo Guardino’s drug supply.
DCI Klara Winter runs a team on the National Crime Agency, she’s also chasing down Guardino, but unlike Sam Batford she’s determined to bring the gangster to justice and get his drugs off the streets.
Set in a time of austerity and police cuts where opportunities for corruption are rife, Rubicon is a tense, dark thriller that is definitely not for the faint hearted.'
The First Paragraph
'Never wear slippers to a shoeing. Ben Hamer should have listened to this advice but he didn't. Big H is down two million. Now, Hamer is no fool. He's a yank and works with money. The only issue is, he should have invested in property as Big H had requested. But he hadn't. That's where I come in.'
Sam Batford is an enigma. An undercover cop working on the margins, in the shadows, on the edge of what is right and what is wrong. His nemesis, DCI Klara Winter shares no such ambiguity. A by the book copper intent on carrying out the rule of law to its fullest extent. Both are ruthless, yet not entirely without a heart. Both want the same outcome: the apprehension of drug lord Vincenzo Big H Guardino and his shipment of heroin and arms. But are their motives for the seizure of the drugs and guns the same? The answer to that lies in the pages of this book.
And what a book.
I always tell my students that the art of writing is the art of listening.
“Alpha One, this is Six Zero, come in, over?” I can’t hear a thing above my breathing. The earpiece is shit, the mic maybe broken. The estate’s tower blocks rise above me like a beacon of oppression. I stay crouched behind a large concrete pillar. I can smell propellant hanging in the air’s whispers. A colleague to my right is doing the same thing, his 9mm Browning is out and held down by his side. His breath is short from our last sprint to safety. We haven’t been seen. Our objective is almost over. In the distance I can hear sirens. Sounds of glass against concrete and every now and then a larger crash as a heavier object connects with the earth. Shouting emanates in the distance. I pull the bandana up around the lower half of my face and look around the pillar.
You read the staccato prose, you read the words, but what you hear in your head is BANG BANG BANG - the sound of footsteps echoing in the dark, the sound of gunfire, the sound of your own heartbeat thundering in your ears.
You write such a clever story in such a hypnotic style, with characters of such strength and depth, a plot so tight, and what you have is something that has already been optioned for TV.
Rubicon is an outstanding book. Simply un-put-down-able. Rarely have I devoured a book in such a fashion as I devoured Rubicon. What makes it so special are the tiny details, the lived experience of what it is to be part of an undercover operation.
And what you want from a book that focuses so much on the small details is someone who has experience in this area. Someone like Ian Patrick.
This from his bio:
Ian spent twenty-seven years in the Metropolitan police the majority as a Detective Sergeant within the Specialist Operations Command. He specialised in Child Protection and was part of a Major Investigation Team that targeted abusers and investigated the murder of children. His last seven years were spent in the Covert Policing Command where he managed a specialist covert unit dedicated to the detection and disruption of organised criminal networks across London and the UK.
So, Rubicon is the real deal.