Lethal Pursuit (Barker and Llewellyn #11)
by Will Thomas
Expected publication November 12, 2019, by Minotaur Books
Changes are afoot in the lives of Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewellyn. Barker is still healing from the injuries he received in the previous book and can’t pound the pavement like he once did, while our narrator Llewellyn, is still adjusting to a new living situation. Though this has made him immensely happy, there is still a degree of awkwardness that surely cannot continue forever. But even more changes are in store for the two detectives once a note arrives from a mysterious source that leads them to the Prime Minister’s office. There they receive an assignment that pits them against foreign governments, secret societies both from both home and abroad, and agents of the Vatican itself. Barker and Llewellyn find themselves under siege with only their wits and ingenuity to rely upon.
Changes are also in store for the reader, though that is to be expected after ten books. If a series does the same thing in every installment it soon grows stale, no matter how entertaining the main characters are. And so, in Lethal Pursuit, the foundation shifts. Barker must acknowledge that he can’t go on as he always has done, and Llewellyn must take on an even more proactive role in the agency. Said changes are not out of the blue, however. Will Thomas has built an entire infrastructure for his version of Victorian London, and so nothing happens via fate, chance, or deus ex machina. Even the reviled silk socks Barker shouts about on page one have their place, and if a lowly pair of socks fits into the world, one can safely bet on everything else sliding neatly into place.
One thing that has not been altered, thankfully, is the sense of humor that the Barker & Llewellyn books have relied upon since the opening chapter of the first book. Thomas Llewellyn’s life may have changed, but his sense of humor has not.
“Once outside, I exhaled. My employer can be rather… what is the word? Gruff? Rude? Exasperating? Secretive? Ill-tempered? All of that and more. I began to suspect I was underpaying myself.”
The mystery of the story is another element that has not changed. When an English spy is killed a few yards from their doorstep, Barker and Llewellyn are called upon to deliver the parcel the spy was carrying. It had been stolen from one European power, and the British government wishes to place it safely in the hand of another European power before the parcel can disrupt society as they know it. As Cyrus Barker detests being called upon for mere courier duty, he takes it upon himself to get to the bottom of the entire riddle and find out who killed the spy to begin with. In doing so, Barker risks the wrath of everyone around him, from the Prime Minister to the foreign agents looking for the parcel, to a high-level official of the Vatican itself.
But Barker is not without allies of his own, and the long-expected departure of an old friend puts him into a position of quiet power, for secret societies flourish in London’s underworld, and Barker is no stranger to any of them. The real question is how far does his reach truly extend?
Longtime fans of this series will rejoice at yet another wonderful installment in this series, which satisfies the desire to know what happens next in the lives of beloved characters. But readers who are new to the series need not tackle the previous ten books to enjoy the latest installment. Lethal Pursuit quietly reintroduces characters who have been around since book one, and Thomas is too good of an author to spoil his own stories. For a new fan, the bits and pieces of Barker and Llewellyn’s life stories may inspire them to find a copy of the first book and start from there, while longtime fans turn the last page, having been both satisfied and delighted by the ending, with only one question left on their minds: What will happen in the next book?
Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for providing me with a free eGalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way.