Review: BAPTISM by Max Kinnings

Baptism cover

Baptism cover

A breathtakingly rapid-paced action thriller set in modern day London

From the back cover:

“07:45am. A monk lies dead in Snowdonia, a knife protruding from his throat. A young family is being held at gunpoint in a house in Wimbledon. The mission has begun.

08:56am. A London Underground train lies stationary in a tunnel, four hundred passengers trapped inside. All efforts to communicate with it have been met with silence.

09:15am. DCI Ed Mallory has just started his day. The Met’s top hostage negotiator is about to discover that, today, an underground train is not the only thing on the line.”

BAPTISM is told through the points of view of multiple characters, these viewpoints knit together to reveal the full story of the hostage situation, and the incidents that led up to it, through three interwoven storylines.

There’s the story of the members of the church of Cruor Christi. This is a religious group divided. Firstly, there’s Tommy and Belle, who are responsible for the hostage situation, and secondly there are, Simeon and Varick, who are trying to stop them carrying it out.

Then there’s the story of the claustrophobic train driver, George Wakeham, and his wife, Maggie, as they’re forced to help Tommy and Belle hijack a tube train under threat of their children being killed.

And then there’s that of the Police and other officials trying to contain and resolve the situation, and is predominantly told through the eyes of DCI Ed Mallory, a blind hostage negotiator.

As the three main storylines twist and turn together, the full impact of the terrifying situation becomes clear. The reader sees how  it effects those touched by the event – the hostages trapped in the tunnel on the hottest day of the year by their captors, the train driver who is desperate to get his wife and children back safely, and the negotiator who has to fight the demons of past failure to try and save the hostages.

It’s a tense, unnervingly believable story with a high body-count and moments of brutal violence.

From the shocking first chapter, through to the dramatic conclusion, this is a fast-paced, seat-of-your-pants action thriller that had me reading far later into the night than I intended because, quite simply, I couldn’t put it down. That said, I did find reading it as I sat on the tube going along the Northern Line rather unsettling!

If action thrillers are your thing, then this one is definitely worth checking out.

Highly recommended.


BAPTISM by Max Kinnings is out now, published by Quercus.


6 thoughts on “Review: BAPTISM by Max Kinnings

  1. Sarah says:

    I’m actually about to attend an Arvon crime writing course this week (with no internet!) so I’m taking a few books to read when I have some free time – Harry Bingham’s ‘Talking to the Dead’ and an oldish Camilleri. I’m also rereading Allingham’s ‘Tiger in the Smoke’ for a guest post on another website.
    I’ll tweet you at the King’s Place event a week Mon. Perhaps we can say hello!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s