cover image Baptism


Max Kinnings. Quercus, $24.95 (448p) ISBN 978-1-62365-102-2

Not for the faint of heart, Kinnings’s thriller propels readers into the murk of London’s Underground, where George Wakeham, a claustrophobic subway train driver, confronts Tommy Denning, a psychopathic ex-soldier and religious fanatic, who has trapped Wakeham’s train and its panicking passengers between the Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road stations. Earlier, Denning and a henchman entered Wakeham’s house and took his wife and children hostage. Det. Chief Insp. Ed Mallory, blinded 13 years earlier in only his second negotiating case, has to rely on his ears, his nose, and his hard-won experience to deal with a terrorist more dangerous than any he’s ever faced and an equally sinister plot by the “good guys,” an MI5 operative gone hopelessly rogue and a bureaucrat out for political fame and power. Kinnings (The Fixer) offers keen insights into the psychological ramifications of desperate hostage situations as he ratchets up the tension to near-unbearable levels. Agent: Anthony Topping, Green & Heaton (U.K.). (Feb.)