As a longtime fan and follower of Rizwan Sabir and the delightfully diverse Holly “Bang-Bang” Kirpachi (Mrs. Sabir to those who also follow the couple), I was thrilled to dive into their latest adventure. Charlie Flowers has a knack for weaving a story that is both fast paced and detailed enough to keep me enthralled. The Boldest Measures certainly follows that path.
Flowers neatly lays the groundwork for the adventure by taking us inside the prison in Pentonville where Ali Mateen is being held. Riz identifies with the young jihadist. For new readers, his reminiscing will be useful. Flowers also takes time to give a bit of background on Bang-Bang. Along the same lines he brings his readers up to speed on British military history as well as the intricacies of British intelligence.
Designated to transport Ali to a Ministry of Defense site on the coast, he and Bang-Bang set to their task with relish. This couple is no Nick and Nora Charles. They are a pair of hardcore, hands-on “agents” who handle weapons the way some people handle their cell phones; with a familiarity and ease that is awe-inspiring. As befits the couple, their journey is fraught with danger; explosions, gun battles, and subterfuge. Alongside this action Flowers manages to reveal the tender intimacy between the couple. It’s impossible not to worry about them. Ali Mateen isn’t resistant to their attentions, and while fearful most of the time, he follows along dutifully. Every captor should be so agreeable.
Most interesting is the fact that they are being pursued by the CIA, raising the question, what does Ali know? In fact, why are so many groups intent on getting their hands on this jihadist and why is he so important to the Ministry? Flowers lovingly teases the reader along with historical references, long forgotten safe houses, and subtle hints there is more here than meets the eye.
There were some mentions of places and people I had to set aside for further study but the story was so engrossing I didn’t want to stop reading. Readers looking for a brilliantly conceived, action-packed tale with colorful characters and a surprise conclusion will love this latest adventure. Hang on! It’s a bumpy, rocky, wild ride!