Must be some fifteen to twenty years since I last picked up a Mark Timlin Nick Sharman thriller. And I still can’t put it down.
It’s hard for me to critiise a Mark Timlin/Nick Sharman book. They’ve always been right. They’ve always entertained, they’ve always been taughtly written and they’re amongst the very few books I decided I couldn’t leave the UK without, when I moved to Denmark in 2004. They’re all still on the bookshelf over there and they’re still amongst the books I recommend most frequently and the books I consciously – and I guess unconciously- compare all other crime-type thrillers against. And most are found wanting.
In Stay Another Day, our anti-hero Nick Sharman has been enjoying the simple life, as only people with a simply huge bank balance are able to, on an island in the (Caribbean) sun. Best not to enquire too closely where he got the money, just go along with that there’s plenty of it. One of the few people from his old life back in London who knows where he is and how to contact him, is his daughter and she suffenly gets in touch with a request for the kind of help only Nick Sharman can supply. Things go wrong, of course and Sharman finds that whilst he might have been out of circulation long enought to have lost some of his old sharpness, he hasn’t forgotten his old tricks, neither has he lost his old ability to attract trouble.
It has to be said that this isn’t classic Sharman – or Timlin. The plot isn’t good enough and it really doesn’t seem ike Timlin’s heart was in the project. There are weaknesses where I’m sure the Timlin of the ’80’s would have tightened up and made stronger. The end is obviously tacked on with a feeling of a rush to be done with the book and the character and to put the pen down. It was like visiting an old friend you lost contact with, or moved away from, and talking about how it used to be, back in the day. Nice enough while it lasts, but that’s where those memories really need to stay, back in their day.
Personally, I’d have liked a different ending – more uplifting, maybe. Sharman and for the pleasure he has given me down the years, deserved it. I’d have liked an ending that allowed us to decide what Sharman is maybe up to after all he’s been through in his life. But there we have it. It’s done. Timlin clearly feels he’s done and said all he wants to with Nick Sharman and I have got to thank him for it.