Independent reviews for Double Identity

From Jean Gill on 4 January 2021 on Goodreads  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3745876000

High-octane thrills with feisty heroine and French / English bi-national flavour

Sexual harassment in the workplace gets the knee in the groin you’ve always wanted to deliver, in this gutsy thriller featuring a highly trained special force operative, Mel. Being so skilled in physical defence and quick to retaliate has drawbacks, however, especially as she’s investigating her fiance’s suspicious death in her bed and can’t afford to cross professional lines. She’s both helped and hindered by her rough diamond of a partner, McCracken, who tends to call a spade a shovel and who had her pinned for the murder right from the get-go.

My favourite relationship in the book is that between Mel and Oliver, the innocent gay partner of a crook Mel is tracking undercover. The undercover scenes in the Roma Nova series were among my favourites and in this sidestep to a new genre, the author conveys the betrayal implicit in undercover work, lying to those who become collateral damage. The conversations between Mel and Oliver are heartbreaking and the pain for both of them comes across.

Vulnerable underneath her hard shell, Mel discovers how little she knew the man she was going to marry and some of those around her enjoy her humiliation. Not McCracken, whose dogged pursuit of the truth overcomes his resentment at the forced partnership and the gradual formation of this duo into a team crackling with sexual tension (in a good way) is one of the entertaining threads in the novel.

High octane dangers and escapes have that attention to detail which is Alison Morton’s hallmark in all her books. Every break-in, jab in the neck or train journey is described with convincing accuracy. Mel’s bi-nationality gives a unique dimension to the story, action and point of view, which lets the reader breathe in British and French culture – a big plus these days when I feel the walls are closing in.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy a thriller with a female lead – and who doesn’t! Follows on well from the alternative history Roma Nova series and should please loyal readers like me as well as attracting new ones.

 

From A Quintillion Words Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
https://aquintillionwords.com/2021/03/22/double-identity-book-review/

“I read a few reviews for this book after I’d written my own, and all these reviewers seemed to agree on the same main point – that this is one of the most impressive, action-packed crime thrillers! Morton sure knows how to keep readers gripped from beginning to end with a pacey thriller so involving that you’ll be thinking about it for months!

The beginning

Well if this blurb doesn’t make you want to jump into this book straight away, then I don’t know what will! The opening scenes of this book were fantastic, and the author wastes no time in launching the reader into the sudden and rather upsetting death of Mel’s partner, Gérard. Even so early on in the story, the way things are described makes you feel like you’ve known these characters for a lifetime, and the mystery is apparent as soon as Mel is brought in for questioning about his death. It was here where we begin to learn more about her, including that she’s ex-French Armed Forces. The fact that she’s a potential suspect in Gérard’s murder only spurs her on to get hands-on in this investigation herself, making her determined to find out the truth. The tone of voice in the story makes it so easy to fall into this book and I could already tell we were in for a memorable journey. I was rooting for Mel 100% already and found myself really wanting her to find out the truth!

Police Detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin the murder of Gérard on Mel, and even though I didn’t agree with this character on multiple occasions, I couldn’t help but really love the way this character has been developed by the author. His personality and the way he sees everything around him really stuck with me, and I just knew he’d be a very interesting character to follow throughout the book. Of course, I loved Mel’s character too, and I love how the author injects parts of her past into everything she does, whether that be stealthily climbing up buildings or doing her own detective work to try and get the answers she needed! The pair quickly find themselves working together on the case which I thought would make for some very interesting reading, and I wondered if Jeff would ever come round to believing Mel had nothing to do with Gérard’s murder. There’s so much detail in the story so far and nothing is left uncovered, making me even more desperate for the investigation to continue.

The French feel of the book was brilliant and you can instantly tell the author is from France with just how perfectly written dialogue is (not that I know any French!) This gave the book such a refreshing feel, and this didn’t seem to stop the more we get into the book. The way characters are questioned and the way the investigation played out was rather addictive to read, and the author’s character creation continued to impress me. I really appreciated how much depth we go into in the story as the perspective changes from one character to the next and this was written so flawlessly so readers aren’t confused with what’s going on. The whole experience so far was just really pleasant (can I say pleasant when there’s a murder to solve?!) and seems to be everything crime/thriller lovers want. I could sense we were in for a treat the more time Mel and McCracken spend together, and I was really curious to see whether they’d ever be able to see eye to eye. Could they work together, if only to get justice for Gérard?

Knowing that Gérard had to see his sister over a very important matter before his death really got me thinking. What was so important that he had to see her? What exactly did he need to discuss? I couldn’t help but wonder if the importance of this matter could have saved his life if he’d managed to get to her sooner, and I was curious about who he’d potentially been involved with that Mel didn’t know about. There was a brilliant sense of mystery in the book as Mel believes she is being watched, and even some brilliant action scenes that made me hold my breath as Mel’s life could potentially be in immediate danger. The author has pulled everything out the bag to keep her story gripping for readers, and that’s something a book of this nature needs to succeed. The opening of this book is full on, complex and involving, and really does have a little something for everyone to enjoy! I was looking forward seeing how the middle of the book played out and just whether Mel and the team can find out the information they need.

The middle

The more we get into this web of action and suspense that is this book, we really get to see a whole new side to Mel. Her tough side is explored so deeply and her intelligence seems to just magnify with everything she encounters along the way. She really becomes such a loveable character that we can begin to understand the more we read, especially as she begins to learn more and teaches herself the things she needs to know to successfully hunt down Gérard’s killers. The danger continues to show itself on multiple occasions, including a fatal explosion which Mel somehow luckily avoids. She is quite obviously a target, and it was very exciting following her journey and never knowing what was around any corner! I found the amount of detail in the book really easy to imagine and I thought the author was extremely talented in this area – it’s clear whichever part of the book you read! I knew there’d be more brilliant action to come.

I didn’t think we knew everything there was to know about all the characters at this point. Who was hiding something?! After finding a significant link between two characters, things really started to get moving in this investigation, and the excitement started creeping up. I felt constantly in awe with how much things began to slot together, and I felt optimistic that the characters were on the right path. There are more fantastic interrogation scenes as one of the characters in the investigation, Duchamps, is questioned, and I just couldn’t seem to get enough of the tension I felt whilst reading. This was brilliantly put together and made for some pretty intense reading! He doesn’t seem too happy about being accused of planting a bomb, but how truthful were these accusations? And just how much did Mel know about her murdered fiancé? The author really knows her stuff when it comes to questioning her characters, and it shows!

Mel starts to work for another character, Fennington, but her motives are much deeper than simply having a regular income. She needs to find out what this guy had in common with Gérard, and how she could potentially prove this guy attempted to kill her earlier on in the book. I loved the lengths Mel was going to to get the information she needed, and it seemed as though she wasn’t afraid of anything right now! I admired her bravery and this made me even more desperate for things to go her way. However, McCracken always seemed to be on her tail, no matter how much Mel tried to keep a low profile. The information she discovered was shocking, but really helps us to understand more about the Duchamps family which I was already keen to learn more about. The layers to this story all work exceptionally well and this part of the book was pretty addictive. I seemed to fly through as Mel discovers even more crucial information.

Finding out more about the kind of person Gérard was when he was alive shocked me just as much as Mel, and I really felt emotional with her as we learn more about the truth. It made me realise that people can be so much different to how you see them, and you can’t trust everyone you meet! The whole story takes an action-packed turn, with gun fights and suspense in great supply. The author seems to have planned every detail with immense care and continues to create nail-biting scenarios that make you wonder who will make it out alive. I found my opinions on certain characters changed every now and then and I loved how it’s constantly a struggle to know who Mel can trust. I was looking forward to the ending of the story to potentially see the “real” people behind the characters we’ve gotten to know throughout the book and hopefully learn the secrets behind Gérard’s death. The author certainly kept me guessing constantly throughout the story!

The end

Despite how much Mel and McCracken seemed to get off to such a bad start at the beginning of the book, I felt as though their relationship got much better by this point. I’d even go as far as to say Mel was starting to get some sort of feelings for the guy with how she seemed to act around him, but it was still early days – anything could happen as this author has already proved multiple times in this story so far! With more questioning and interrogation at this point of the book, I knew it was finally time to get some solid answers from the characters we’d grown to suspect along the way. The author keeps readers questioning so much and I’d just gotten used to that fact that each scene would be as unpredictable as the last. I do really appreciate this in a book, especially of this genre, where you just crave unexpected things to surprise you. Fans of this genre will certainly not disappointed with this story!

The author successfully proves that she is capable of not only writing fast-paced, action-packed crime/thriller, but also that she can perfect the softer side of Mel and Jeff’s developing relationship. Even two complete opposite themes have been written with such care and attention to detail, and these scenes just made me love these characters even more. There was something exciting and rebellious about their relationship, and I loved how their feelings never got in the way of their professional work. They were still able to do what they do best and bring the right people down for everything they have done. Before this, however, there was still so much left to uncover, and I was ready for what the rest of this story threw my way!

After being followed by a couple of Russians and being in the middle of an assault at such a crucial point in the investigation, it’s safe to say that the final few chapters were as full on as I’d expected, but I particularly enjoyed just how Mel manages to hide her identity once again to avoid unwanted attention on her own mission. Car chases, yet more assault and some fast thinking from Mel not only saves lives at this point in the story, but also the investigation, but this time, she doesn’t get away lightly. There was so much I loved about how the ending of the story was playing out, including how readers are forced to fear for Mel’s life after everything she’s gone through. It was a strange feeling as I felt as though I’d become so attached to this character throughout the story – I don’t think I’d be able to bear it if she didn’t make it!

The ending of the story was rounded off really well and we find out a side to Gérard when he was alive that I really didn’t expect. Mel’s expertise from her past role in the Forces is needed once again as the author brings us more pulse-quickening scenes, and I’m so glad the author included this here. Her heroic actions throughout the whole of the book pay off, and I even left this story with a heartwarming feeling inside which I certainly didn’t expect. The author perfectly portrays such a strong female lead character who is as resilient as she is compassionate, which brings such a refreshing feel to the table. A brilliant story which just seemed to cement my love of action-packed thrillers further. A five star read without a doubt!

Overall thoughts

I loved the overall feel of this book and you really do get more than you bargain for when Mel’s journey begins. The book captured my attention from beginning to end, and I found myself loving characters that I disliked right at the start! The development of the whole story was flawless and I’d happily read this book again right now if I didn’t have a never ending TBR list! A stunningly well put together thriller with just the right balance of action, suspense and even emotion. I look forward to reading more from this author in the future!”

 

From A J ‘s Reviews 31 December 2020 on Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3730709366

Great start to a welcome new series! I love Alison Morton’s ROMA NOVA series, but may actually like this new series even more. The protagonist (Melisande) is a young woman of dual French and English citizenship, who has just left the French Army when this story opens. She has retired from service because she is engaged to be married. Sadly, as our story opens, Mel wakes to find her fiance’ dead in their bed. Naturally, she is immediately suspected of causing his death, and of course she is determined to discover exactly what happened and why.

This engrossing tale swept me up and kept me reading as fast as I could flip the pages. I am in awe of Alison Morton, who has exactly the right background to write believable thrillers about a female soldier. I love the ROMA NOVA books and recommend them highly, but this new series should find an even wider audience. Well done!

 

From Promoting Crime Fiction/Mystery People  blog  7 January 2021
https://promotingcrime.blogspot.com/2021/01/double-identity-by-alison-morton.html

[Extract from very comprehensive review]
Double Identity
is a contemporary thriller by an author well known for her magnificent alternative history series, featuring strong women who are not afraid to fight for what they believe in. The action throughout the book is fast-paced and exciting, the background, which switches between France and England is fascinating, and the plot is intricate and well thought out. From a stark beginning, where the protagonist is bereaved and feels disempowered, she swiftly regains control of her life and dominates the action, both physically and emotionally. Mel is a magnificent character, strong and determined to battle against injustice, whether it is facing down a sexist police officer who attempts to sexually harass her, or discovering the truth about international intrigue. At the same time, she is emotionally vulnerable, as she comes to terms with her fiance’s death and the painful truths that are uncovered. Also, she is wise enough to reassess those colleagues that she had initially dismissed. Double Identity is the first in a new series featuring Mélisende des Pittones and she is a protagonist that I would happily read more about. Double Identity is a page-turner that I recommend.

 

From Chris Longmuir on 19 January 2021 on Goodreads  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3782791435

Alison Morton is well known for her popular Roma Nova novels, but this book took me completely by surprise. This was a real change of direction for Alison, a completely different type of story.
The book is a thriller involving Melisande (Mel for short) a French military officer with dual nationality, and McCracken a British policeman. It starts when Mel wakes one morning next to the dead body of her lover. She is instantly suspected of murdering him, particularly by McCracken. To say that sparks fly between them would be an understatement.
The plot thickens when Mel is transferred from her military post into a mysterious European investigation service and she is teamed up with McCracken. From then on the story gallops along at an increasingly fast pace and Mel faces danger after danger, from Russian thugs, arms smugglers and money launderers.
I particularly loved the dynamics between Mel and McCracken, and their growing relationship was completely believable.
I could talk forever about this novel, but then, you wouldn’t need to read it. What I will say is that this book made my heart pound and had me on the edge of my seat. And I’m not sure if I’ve forgiven the author for my sleep deprivation while reading it. If you like a thrilling read, you’re going to love this.

 

Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO, CARINA (novella), PERFIDITAS, SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA, NEXUS (novella), INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO,  and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series.

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