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Monday, 26 September 2016

'...wry and witty, well observed, and fast paced.'

A big thank you to Rowena Hoseason of for her review of Catalyst. It's interesting that both she and Jack Owen (see yesterday's blog) refer in their reviews to Emma Peel from The Avengers TV series. Maybe there was some subconscious tribute working there when I created the character, since I was in my formative years when I watched that highly original ground-breaking series in the 1960s!

Here is the Amazon review; a slightly longer review can be found at Rowena's site (above):

Catherine is a talented woman. Smart enough to be a biochemist. Beautiful enough to be a top-class catwalk model. Physically skilled and strong enough to free-climb a sleek city office block. Determined enough to avenge the financial ruin and deaths of her parents. Yup, she’s a thoroughly modern girl.

But Cat is also a wonderful throwback to Emma Peel of The Avengers TV series. Indeed, the whole atmosphere of Catalyst is resoundingly retro and it shares a lot of style with The Avengers and The Saint, and even the early Bond movies.  

Catalyst is not a pastiche nor a parody but feels instead like a loving tribute to the sensibilities and sly humour of those 1960s spy series. Yet it’s most definitely set in the 21st century and it doesn’t lampoon its influences so much as cherish them.

There’s a coherent plot to push the action along, one which touches on animal rights, science running amok, corporate abuses of the environment and human trafficking alongside good old-fashioned love, jealously, betrayal, intrigue and, of course, murder. The writing is straightforward and easy to follow, although occasionally it gets bogged down a little bit in everyday minutiae.

Author Nik Morton can deliver a gripping action set piece; the opening sequence involving Cat’s incredible climb is outright excellent and skilfully pulls the reader straight into the fray.

I particularly enjoyed: the role reversal which gleefully subverts gender stereotypes and sees the leading man tied helpless to railway track (yes, really), relying on the all-action heroine to come to his aid.

I was also intrigued by the police officers who follow Cat's path as it zigzags across the UK and onwards to Spain. One of them is known as ‘Inspector Mushroom’ because he only comes out after dark – can’t wait for that back-story to be explained in a future episode. In fact, he’s such an interesting character that he probably deserves a spin-off story all of his own.

Catalyst made for an enjoyable afternoon’s light-hearted entertainment. It’s wry and witty, well observed, and fast paced. The violence and intimate action all leans towards the delicate end of the scale so there’s nothing here to shock or horrify. Good, old fashioned fun, in fact. Steed would certainly approve.

Note: I was very pleased that Rowena picked up on the two NCA characters, Pointer and Basset, 'the dogs of law'. Yes, Pointer's strange origin is explained in the prologue of Catacomb!

Catalyst can be obtained from Amazon sites worldwide.

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