Comments & Reviews
Tuesday, 31 July 2018
The author welcomes comments on The Mortal Maze. They can be emailed to him here.
The author brings his Australian cultural background and his professional life as a journalist into this brilliant read. The characters may be recognisable as a type within the broadcasting world - but these characters are everywhere - you don't need to know the BBC to recognise the workers, the grafters, the smooth talking bastards, the egotists, the ones who think that their job is more important than anyone else's, even if they know less than others! Once I started reading this book on holiday, I just didn't want to stop. I had no idea where the book was going and how it would end. I certainly didn't expect it to end like it did. Mr. Richardson had me hooked. No spoilers - just to say the characters were fleshed out beautifully. The gambling problem and the demanding mother added nice touches to the torment being gone through by the main character. And yes, as someone has already said, it would make a great film. - Amazon review by Brian Empringham.
"A labyrinthine tale with a blinder of an ending. Heart stopping stuff. I am glad you didn't tell me how it ended before I began reviewing it." - Jan Woolf, editor, London.
"A fantastic cracking spy thriller. Very realistic." - Book reviewer Rob Minshull talking to Steve Austin on ABC Radio Brisbane.
"I was deeply sad when I finished it [The Mortal Maze]. It is a fabulous book: a page turner, real people, fantastic background. I really did love it. It cries out for a sequel. And if you do one, don't clean up our hero too much." - email from former Fleet Street investigative journalist Eric Clark.
"Ian Richardson has written a page turning thriller that screams to be turned into a blockbuster film. It has all the ingredients and characters to make a box office success. A flawed foreign correspondent, troubled by a gambling addiction, a penchant for exotic escort girls and drinking whiskey from the bottle; his old, avenging school chum, who becomes the world's most wanted terrorist, and a duplicitous, immoral spymaster who manipulates the reporter with devastating consequences. Their personal epiphanies come far too late. To say any more would spoilt the plot." - Amazon review by Malcolm Brabant.
"Wow! What can I say - absolutely loved it! The story was so interesting and completely different to anything I had read before. The characters just came to life and the ending was completely unexpected and just brilliant! Congratulations." - email from Kevin Tavener, Bendigo, Australia.
"The Mortal Maze was part of my holiday reading - and a very good part it was! I particularly enjoyed the frictions and conflicts between the resident members of the BBC's news bureau team and the special correspondent followed by the relief manager who were flown in to work at the bureau. I also very much enjoyed the way the relationships between the members of the bureau team itself were portrayed. As well as these, I found Ian Richardson's storylines were most compelling... though some were more than a little sad." - Amazon review by Peter Udell, London.
"The Mortal Maze is entertaining, fast paced with well drawn believable characters, and is well worth a few hours of anyone's time. In fact, it's something of a page turner and difficult to put down; I read it in two sittings. Written by an author not unfamiliar with the troubles and tribulations of TV journalism in foreign lands, it has a genuine feel for the sometimes problematic relationships between journalists and diplomats as well as the demands of the editors back home and the realities on the ground. I had to smile at the groans from the journalist 'hero' and his irrepressible cameraman when HQ in London sends in the self important 'heavyweight' as the story develops in significance. I look forward to a follow up." - Ben A. Amazon review.
"I thoroughly enjoyed this well researched & very well constructed fast moving topical thriller. It is full of twists & turns & had me gripped from the start to the climactic finish. I would love to see it made into a film!" - anon, Amazon Customer
"A terrific fast-paced read! I was well and truly hooked from the start. I loved the feisty characters and loved loathing one or two of the BBC high-ups. A great insight into what goes on behind the news in dangerous territory. I recommend." - Carole Bentley, Amazon review.
"A well-plotted novel packed with incident and featuring sharply drawn relationships between some convincing characters, this lively and topical thriller fairly zips along from the start, gathering pace until the dramatic finale. The author makes the most of his journalistic background without overdoing the use of an insider's knowledge of technical detail and jargon." - T. Luard, Amazon review.
"Excellent thriller: rattling good yarn. Works on several levels; critique of hypocritical foreign policy, skewering of BBC bureaucracy, portrait of Middle Eastern country, deft characterisation." - Amazon review by Stephen Jessel, Paris.
"I really enjoyed The Mortal Maze, a vivid and compelling read. The settings and characters were powerfully evoked, and the narrative gripped me as it moved towards its climax. It was great to follow both the working and the personal lives of the characters. I was particularly entertained by the scenes in the BBC team's office, and by the interplay between the folk in the field and those at headquarters. I look forward to further adventures with Jackson Dunbar!" - Email from Steve Cockayne, UK.
"A fast paced novel, full of authentic journalistic references and fascinating detail about the Middle Eastern setting. Richardson weaves a complex plot with dexterity, interweaving carefully crafted characters' subplots and storylines to a thrilling climax." - Full review here. Beth Pevsner, Durham University, County Durham, England.
"I really enjoyed it [The Mortal Maze]. Having no knowledge of news agencies working in foreign countries, it was quite eye opening for me. Not having a HERO as such, rushing in to save the day was a nice change. The ending threw me, not used to that sort of thing happening in novels these days." - email from Max O'Callaghan, Alice Springs, Australia.
"A pacy and plausible thriller. It took me a while to get used to the present tense approach but I soon became absorbed in the plot. It would work well as a movie. - David McNeil, Amazon review.
"Good entertaining read and an excellent insight into aspects of the media that may not be apparent to the casual observer." - anon. Amazon Customer.
"I liked the storyline and the setting and fact that it was based on a fairly small tightly-knit group of people. I could imagine the office and the scenes where the mosque is blown up and the final bomb in the park were very vivid. I didn't find [Jackson] to be a sympathetic character. I liked other male characters who had life, especially Pete, Mack and Binnie (oddly enough)." - email from Ruth, London.
"The story was exciting and enjoyable and there were times when I didn't want to put the book down. It was a jolly good read." - Barbara Nash, London W5
"Fabulous!. I found it impossible to put down. I continued reading well into the night, always thinking to ' bookmark at the next page', but no, I read it to the end! A fascinating novel with an unusual and interesting series of plots that could only be authored by someone with a deep journalistic experience of the subject matter." - email from John Mole, Ringwood, Melbourne.
"The author's knowledge of broadcasting and of the Middle East sets the novel against a colourful and authentic background, making the startling twists and turns of the plot all the more believable." - Colin Emmins, University of the Third Age (U3A). Read full review.
"It was a thoroughly enjoyable and gripping read. Jacko is a plausible and endearing character and despite his human weaknesses you want to know that he'll be safe from the dangers he seems to be hell-bent on putting himself into. It was hard to put the book down and turn off the light!" - email from Gail Jones, Crickhowell, Wales.
"Fast moving and thoroughly enjoyable. An excellent insight into the way news works, some of the unpleasant people who work in it and the strong professional rivalries. Plausible plot - who are the Government spooks in the broadcast organisations? I was so hooked that I got through the last 20 minutes according to Kindle in 12 minutes because I wanted to find out what happened." - Amazon review by JRExelby.
"Fantastic. I absolutely loved it [The Mortal Maze] and found it hard to put down. I read it in three days and had to ration myself to how much I read at a time. Will there be a sequel?" - David McClure, Brill, England.
"Fast-paced and absorbing, this novel written in the present tense by a former BBC journalist who really knows his stuff, draws the reader in to the terrifying world of terrorism in today's world from the perspective of a BBC news team on the spot in an Arab capital under attack. The sometimes horrific twists and turns kept me involved right to the end. Hard to put down! It would make a great film." - Amazon review by musiga24, UK.