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In The Evil Day by Peter Temple
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In The Evil Day (2001)

by Peter Temple

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A lot of this book didn't make sense until the end. You had the feeling it might be intertwined but not how. Niemand and Anselm are both interesting nuanced characters. A spy thriller romp through Hamburg, London and a few other international spots. ( )
  devilish2 | Jun 26, 2018 |
A highly complex and intriguing novel set in Hamburg, London, Johannesburg and Wales. The main characters are John Niemand – a bodyguard who stumbles across a video depicting US atrocities in an African setting, and Anselm who works for a Hamburg firm which locates missing people for clients (no questions asked about what might happen to the missing person, if located). There’s lots of tension, violent action and detective work as Niemand’s position becomes more and more dangerous and Anselm begins to wonder about the validity of his work. Both main characters are complex and interesting and each has a love interest which adds to the attractiveness of the book. ( )
  dwate | Sep 28, 2009 |
Having never been a thriller or a whodunnit fan, Peter Temple's sharp and often hillarious prose has changed my mind about both genres. A fast-paced, engaging and brilliantly realised read: his characters are flawed and sympathetic and his plotlines refreshing without surrendering any of the traditional pleasures of the genre. ( )
  Johnny1978 | Mar 19, 2009 |
Con Niemand is a mercenary whose business is surviving; John Anselm is a struggling intelligence agent whose business is information; Caroline Wishart is a tabloid journalist whose business, until now, has been the sex lives of politicians. Their paths collide when Niemand stumbles across a secret terrible enough to destroy lives and depose governments.

The first half of the story mixes the action-packed adventure of Niemand, former soldier turned mercenary, with the slower, more complex unfolding of the character of 'corporate risk manager' Anselm and his equally complicated world of conspiracies and double-dealing. The link between their stories doesn't become clear until about halfway through the novel, but this isn't the end of the plot twists; there are plenty of surprises still to come.

The style of In The Evil Day is often spare, even terse; while there are some richly detailed passages to establish character and setting, some chapters consist of nothing more than dialogue between two unidentified speakers. This befits the shadowy world Anselm and Niemand inhabit, where knowing who you're working for may be difficult, dangerous, or hard to reconcile with your conscience... and while trust may be rare and larger loyalties obsolete in that environment of `plausible deniability', where the interests of nations have become secondary to those of political parties and the corporations who finance them, Niemand, Anselm and Wishard do have consciences.

Temple shows his mercenaries, deadly as they may be, as more honorable than the people who employ them in the hope of being able to disavow responsibility. Niemand is first and foremost a survivor, acting on instinct when threatened, but he protects his friends as best he can, is capable of gentleness, and has no tolerance for those who enjoy killing. Anselm is equally efficient, to the point of being workaholic, but he is loyal to his boss and colleagues, able to empathize with those he hunts, and loves his family.

What could have been a sprawling mess of a book is instead kept on a tight leash through incisive plotting and powerful, lean prose. This is the hallmark of Temple's writing: the sparse style, the diamond-pure clarity that comes from years of distilling words. He pumps more muscle in one paragraph than lesser writers muster in a page, a craft learned in the hothouse of journalism and developed through the influences of favorite crime writers such as Elmore Leonard. ( )
  Jawin | May 23, 2008 |
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This is the record for the novel. Please do not combine it with the omnibus. Also published under the title "Identity Theory"
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Con Niemand is a mercenary whose business is surviving. John Anselm is a struggling intelligence agent whose business is information. And Caroline Wishart is a tabloid journalist whose business, until now, has been the sex lives of politicians. Their paths collide when Niemand stumbles across a terrible secret.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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