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Johnston, Paul - 'Maps of Hell'
Paperback: 432 pages (Aug. 2010) Publisher: MIRA ISBN: 077830373X

MAPS OF HELL is Paul Johnston's third book to feature British crime writer Matt Wells. This time round he wakes up in a prison cell, naked and with no recollection of his past or who he even is. Before long he is subjected to a series of horrific torture sessions and decides to try and escape before it gets any worse. Seizing his chance, he manages to get out of the camp, that is surrounded by an electric fence and located in an unknown forest somewhere in an unknown country, and starts to run. His chances for escape improve somewhat after he finds, and removes, the GPS chip positioned under the skin on his arm. Still not knowing who he is, but slowly managing to piece things together from a series of vivid dreams and hallucinations, he heads towards civilization, but his problems are only just beginning. He remembers that his girlfriend is pregnant, he also remembers that she disappeared shortly before he lost his memory and that they are in America but he is British. Apart from that, itís all pretty hazy. Most important of all, he has no idea that he has been framed for three murders and is wanted by the FBI...

This is an excellent book! It starts off mysteriously and keeps you guessing right until the end. Well-written and fast-paced, MAPS OF HELL has a surprising ability to eat into your psyche and keep poking away at you, making you wonder what will happen next, when you are supposed to be concentrating on other things. Characters from the earlier two books that feature Matt Wells keep being mentioned, and it would probably have been useful to have read the other books before looking at this one, in order to fully understand everything about why Matt is like he is. However, that aside, the book stands by itself very well and in places is downright chilling.

If you like your crime fiction dark and sinister but not too violent, then this will be perfect for you.

Highly recommended.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
November 2011

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 20/11/2011 13:23