The debut novel No Margin for Error by Liam Flood is a fast paced thriller which offers the reader an insight into a new world order in which the current social and economic paradigm is replaced with a new ideology in which fortunes and favour are restructured.
This cleverly woven story traces the lives of the two main characters Mike Lyons and John Kelly; both men are Irish and have been influenced in different ways by the Troubles in the North of Ireland and the economic depression of the 1980’s. The two characters are bound to each other through circumstance and a defining event when they are young men. They are at the top of their professions, one, an assassin previously involved in the IRA, and the other, an anti terrorist specialist. The two have followed very different paths, their personalities are very similar and the characters appear to the reader as a mirror image.
Liam Flood has created a clear sense of time and place for the reader. The plot unfolds when a powerful organisation recruits the assassin Kelly, its aim is to strike fear in to the Western world through a strategic campaign to remove key political figures and world leaders, and the reader is drawn in to an international chase. The use of well known locations around the world allow the reader to trace the cross continental story from London, to the USA, Dubai, France and beyond. Flood effectively uses narrative combined with a detailed dialogue which puts the reader at the centre of the action. He builds the tension throughout the book, and the drama intensifies following the first assassination, Lyons once again finds himself on the trail of the elusive character of Kelly, “In the Gulf, the Bahraini had just finished his dawn prayers. He switched his TV to Al Jazeera…The news was all about the previous nights murder…he allowed himself a small smile of congratulation and gave a deep sigh of satisfaction -its started he thought”.
The reader is propelled through the chapters as the global action unfolds, as further assassinations occur around the world, the anti terrorist task force seem powerless to stop them, however, Lyons suspects the same assassin,
“Although he was three and a half thousand miles away from D.C something made him almost certain he was looking for the same killer. Too many similarities, two gunshots to the head, silenced weapon, no trace of his killer, hotel computer systems expertly hacked”.
Flood has skilfully interwoven the themes of migration, cultural identity, politics and companionship in to this novel. The two main characters are both individualistic by necessity; however they make significant connections with other characters in the novel, both Lyons and Kelly find companionship with the female characters of Wendy and Katya respectively who provide a foil to their personalities. This is an electrifying novel in which the action comes alive in the reader’s imagination.
Book review by: Victoria Barnes B.A.Hons, H.Dip.