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BOX 88

Review

BOX 88

On December 21, 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was the target of a terrorist attack as a bomb tore the plane apart over the Scottish village of Lockerbie. All 243 passengers and 16 crew members were killed, as well as 11 residents of Lockerbie. Charles Cumming uses this tragedy as the impetus for his latest espionage novel, BOX 88.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote at the beginning of the book frankly speaks to the life of the spy: “We have as many personalities as we have friends.” In present-day London, members of MI5 are leading an investigation into BOX 88, a long-defunct transatlantic black ops team. Current events have shown not only the possible existence of this group but also their potential reemergence.

"BOX 88 is a long novel, but it is never dull and will make readers recall the work of John le Carré and Ken Follett."

At the center of this weighty tome is Lachlan Kite, who was a young man when BOX 88 was in its infancy. He cut his teeth by going deep cover and befriending the Iranian terrorist who may have been the primary figure responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. Following this act of terrorism, he pretty much fell off the map. He is now involved in the family business, manning an upscale hotel, while his wife, a Swiss-American woman, is a doctor. What brings him to the surface again, publicly, is his appearance at the funeral of a childhood friend.

Now that his name is once again on the radar, it will be a race among members of BOX 88, MI5 and angry Iranian terrorists still bearing quite a grudge to see who will find Lachlan first. At one point, both he and his wife are captured by the Iranians. It will force him to revisit a dark past that he has tried to forget, open up old wounds, and reconnect with people he had hoped to never see again. He must do this if he wants to keep his family safe, but it may come at the cost of the government and the world he used to work so secretly to protect.

Few writers today can create realistic and cutting espionage fiction like Charles Cumming. BOX 88 is a long novel, but it is never dull and will make readers recall the work of John le Carré and Ken Follett. It is nice to see a writer who respects such legends and continues to do his best to keep the fire burning for the genre’s future.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on January 21, 2022

BOX 88
by Charles Cumming

  • Publication Date: January 11, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press
  • ISBN-10: 1613162731
  • ISBN-13: 9781613162736