Present Danger by Stella Rimington, narrated by Maggie Mash (Whole Story Audio Books, September 2010, ISBN: 9781407435848, 9 CDs)
Present Danger is the fifth book to feature MI5 agent Liz Carlyle. When a personal relationship between Liz and her boss that's been brewing in the last four books looks like it could come off, the powers that be decide to interfere and post Liz to Northern Ireland. MI5 has taken over the intelligence gathering role there and Liz will be back to her role of agent-running.
Her arrival does not go smoothly when her hire car has a blow-out and she's very nearly seriously injured. However old friends from earlier books, Dave Armstrong and Judith Spratt are on hand to help her settle in.
Dave gets some tip-offs that lead Liz's team to look closely at one Seamus Piggott, a Boston-Irishman who has expressed a desire to kill both police and MI5 agents. A mistake by Dave means that Piggott may get his wish...
Present Danger has Liz travelling between France and Ireland and working with French intelligence agent Martin Seurat in a tense hunt to find Piggott and his entourage before the unthinkable happens.
As always with this series, Present Danger gives the reader that inside view into the very private world of the intelligence services and the reader is left wondering how much is true and how much is fiction. The plot does hinge on some unprofessional actions by both Liz, Dave and Judith but it makes for an interesting listen and and a very tense final few chapters. It's a solid thriller but not as gripping as say At Risk. There is regular recapping and sometimes surveillance scenes are described in detail and are of interest - to see how these things are done - but do not add much to the plot. A personal vendetta motif runs through this series and Present Danger is no different.
Also as usual I enjoyed Maggie Mash's narration. Her Liz is a very cool customer and one that may be moving on from the romantic yearnings of the previous books. Regular listeners to this series may have noticed that Peggy Kinsolving's accent has moved from the Midlands to Northern over time but a slightly puzzling thing is that Dave has had a Northern Ireland accent in the last couple of audio books but in Present Danger he is occasionally referred to as English - I don't know if that's how he's seen by the Irish or if he is actually English in the books. Nonetheless whatever the accents used, Maggie Mash performs them well and I hope it won't be too long before the next book, Rip Tide, is made available on audio book.
Read another Euro Crime review of Present Danger.