After a lifetime of service around the Middle East, retired diplomat Jason Hartmoor is dying of cancer. He embarks on a last journey back to Lebanon where he studied Arabic as a young man at the Middle East Centre for Arab Studies, the infamous ‘British spy school’ in the village of Shemlan far up in the hills overlooking Beirut.
Jason wants to rediscover the love he lost when the civil war forced him to flee Lebanon. Instead his past catches up with him with such speed and violence, it threatens to kill him before the disease does. The only man who can keep him alive long enough to face that past is Gerald Lynch.
*May Contain Spoilers*
Our favorite group of Beirut agents is back in Shemlan: A Deadly Tragedy by Alexander McNabb. Gerald Lynch, an Irishman who works for British Intelligence, is brought in to find Jason Hartmoor before the competition can get their hands on him.
The story revolves around both Hartmoor and Lynch. Hartmoor is dying from cancer and before he dies he wants to see the woman who stole his heart when he was a young man studying Arabic. When he goes back to Shemlan to find her, Hartmoor inadvertently threatens to unravel a carefully covered up secret. Hartmoor is a simply good man who plays the fool too often. He is naive, gullible, and haunted. He's the man who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time which has ruined his career and love life. Readers will connect with him in his journey to find the woman he was forced to leave behind. They will also empathize with Hartmoor's unlucky streak of being used and abused by his supposed "friends."
Lynch is a blunt British agent who has a soft spot for those he truly cares about. He is focused, thorough, understanding, and overly intelligent. Lynch has the ability to make connections, ask the right questions, and uncover old secrets. Readers will enjoy his banter and wit while also respecting him as an agent.
The plot follows Hartmoor as he travels back to Beirut and Shemlan, where he studied as a young man, to find Mai, the love of his life. His personal journey to make peace with his past threatens the present and future of unknown men. As the story unravels, McNabb draws readers into the mystery of the dying Jason Hartmoor. Shemlan: A Deadly Tragedy is a novel true to its name. The story of Hartmoor is nothing if not a tragedy in which everyone has a target taped to their back.
Rating: 3.5/5 Cups