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The Ferret

by Tom Minder

Rating: ***

In The Ferret we met Louis Kimble; an Elder in the Church of Latter-Day Saints. When he is given an opportunity to be the Foreman for a new luxury property development alarm bells begin to ring. Louis quickly realises that the building works are a cover for a money laundering scheme that has the backing of the Church. Not only that, the FBI are already onto them. Louis agrees to testify against his brethren and consequently enters witness protection where he undergoes facial realignment and becomes Hank Malone. But will it be enough to escape detection especially when the Mormons begin a recruitment drive…

I found The Ferret a fun, easy read that delivers on the blurb. The beginning was a slightly one-dimensional but with the appearance of Agent Nelson, the prose began to swing and come alive. It’s a fairly simple plot that gathers intensity as Louis becomes Hank Malone and relocates to South Jersey. The ‘will he/won’t he be found out’ angle is nicely played and keeps the reader involved without becoming tiresome. It is a book that does not take itself too seriously and effortlessly zips the reader along. Some of the characterisations, especially the FBI officers are well-observed and amusing. I found Louis/Hank was stronger in the first half of the novel. The narrative in the Nevada Desert had a touch more depth than when the action moves to South Jersey. As Hank Malone, the character seemed to either be oblivious to, or delight in, pushing the boundaries of discovery especially with the involvement at Hank’s work of Nick Olsen, a Mormon and that was occasionally frustrating. A little belief suspension is also required in other places; I found the reaction from Hank’s wife, Sue’s to the news that he was actually Louis Kimble and, therefore, not really on paper the man that she had married to be rather muted in the circumstances. There are quite a few little twists as we hurtle towards the conclusion and some avenues could have been explored or described in greater detail. However, I enjoyed all strands being gathered together at the wedding of Nick and Gina and Carlos’ comeuppance struck a satisfying balance between the comedic and tragic. The FBI duo of ‘Uncle’ Sidney and Charlie were a good pairing and I could see them having their own story.

The Ferret is a straightforward, accessible little thriller that gives a decent, entertaining read. Recommended.

Released on 1st April, 2021. Pre-order from:

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