cover image Madagascar


Stephen Holgate. Blank Slate, $16.95 trade paper (350p) ISBN 978-1-943075-48-5

Robert Knott, the flawed narrator of this masterly thriller from Holgate (Tangier), has hit a dead end both professionally and personally. As the political officer at the U.S. embassy in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Knott has little to do, and he’s estranged from his 15-year-old daughter, who’s living in the States with his ex-wife. For solace, he turns to the gaming tables of the Zebu Room, but his losses leave him at the mercy of the casino’s owner, Maurice Picard, a retired, but still dangerous, soldier of fortune. To escape his gambling debts, Knott agrees to launder money for Picard by exchanging Madagascar currency for American dollars through the embassy cashier, hoping that his crimes go undetected. Meanwhile, Knott finds a renewed sense of purpose in trying to help Walt Sackett, an American cattleman whom corrupt officials have imprisoned on a bogus charge. Holgate has created a memorable lead character and made Madagascar, where the “implausible is not only possible, it is mandatory,” palpable. Le Carré fans won’t want to miss this one. [em]Agent: Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (May) [/em]