When Tino Coluzzi, a member of the Corsican Mafia, robs Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, the chief of Saudi Arabia’s secret police has bigger problems than missing cash.
Hidden inside one of the stolen cash-filled briefcases is a document written by Vassily Borodin, director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, that, should it see the light of day, would have major implications for everyone involved. Coluzzi, working on behalf of a mysterious American, is told he can keep the money. . . the document was the real mission and is the only thing his employer wants. Naturally, Coluzzi keeps both, prompting a chain reaction from both sides.
To get the document from Coluzzi, the American hires Simon Riske, a freelance industrial spy with a questionable background, to steal it back. It’s later revealed that Riske and Coluzzi have a history together, which resulted in Riske being betrayed by Tino and put in prison many years earlier.
While Riske has maintained his freedom by turning down big, high-profile jobs, the chance to go after Coluzzi is too enticing, thus prompting him to put his fancy car restoration business on hold and accept the offer. On the other side, Borodin enlists the services of Valentina Asanova, a Russian assassin who is as stunning as she is lethal. Soon a game of thief vs. thief engulfs the streets of France, as Riske faces off with his former partner turned nemesis. . . but the real fireworks begin when Riske realizes who, exactly, he’s working for, and that he’s part of a much larger game being played out behind the scenes.
Reich does a fine job introducing Simon Riske and making him a flawed yet likable character who reads like a cross between Jason Bourne and Steve Hamilton’s Nick Mason. His imperfections add layers, which are slowly peeled back to reveal a very talented spy whose unorthodox training allows him to thrive on the streets with little to no help from anyone else. That said, while the characters are fun and colorful, the plot starts strong but eventually becomes predictable. It’s very well-written and engaging, but experienced readers will see the ending coming a mile away. Still, it’s an enjoyable ride that introduces a handful of solid characters and provides more than a few thrills.
Christopher Reich’s The Take is a smart, fast-paced thriller full of suspense and nonstop twists. Think Ocean’s 11 meets The Second Life of Nick Mason. . . It’s one heck of a fun ride!
Author: Christopher Reich
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10
Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.