Monday 25 April 2016

A thrilling thriller review

BOOK REVIEW by Colin Emmins

The Mortal Maze

    A new novel from Ian D. Richardson, a former radio and television editor (and a member of Ealing U3A), is a thriller dealing with broadcasting and terrorism in the Middle East. The central figure and anti-hero is a gifted and eager television reporter posted by the BBC to Armibar, capital of the fictional country of Central Arabia. There two acquaintances from the past catch up with him: one now working for western intelligence, the other who has become a committed ‘freedom fighter’. Each of them manages to use him for their own widely different purposes in a series of unexpected events with ultimately disastrous results. All three characters are convincingly drawn, as indeed are the other characters supporting the story.
     The most exciting and realistic plot conveys not only the drama of a reporter’s life but also the routine of the job without ever slackening the pace of the narrative. Neither the plot nor the dialogue is for the faint-hearted and whatever reservations there may be about the use of the historic present throughout, it certainly adds to the dramatic tension and makes the possibility of a screen version easy to envisage.
     The author’s knowledge of broadcasting and of the Middle East sets the novel against a colourful and authentic background, making the startling twists and turns of the plot all the more believable. His view of management at the BBC and in the intelligence services is all too believable.
     The moral and ultimately mortal implications of the story provide a compelling theme running through the whole work. They are strikingly illustrated by the book’s cover where its title The Mortal Maze has the ‘t’ of mortal picked out in red against the otherwise white lettering to dramatic effect.

The Mortal Maze is published by Preddon Lee Ltd of London, and is available online from Amazon.

The battle for the BBC's independence

A former BBC colleague of mine, Phil Harding, has written a first class explanation of why everyone should be concerned about the way the British Government is trying to undermine the authority and independence of the corporation:
This white paper threatens the BBC’s independence. It must be opposed
     The government has announced that it will be publishing its white paper on the future of the BBC next month. It’s a white paper that needs to be scrutinised very carefully: for what it will say about the future size and scope of the BBC, and above all for how it proposes to protect the editorial independence of the corporation.
     Over the years I’ve watched a lot of BBC licence fee and charter negotiations – both from inside the BBC, often at pretty close quarters, and these days from the outside. My conclusion is that in the end it comes down to two things – money and politics. That is still the case today. What is different about this round of negotiations is that so far we have had a consultation process that has been heavily skewed and one which has raised serious concerns about the BBC’s future independence.
Go here for the full article.