Last night saw the launch of Simon Crane’s first thriller at Hotel Café Royal Regent Street.
Here is what I said in my short address to mark this memorable occasion.

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Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, we are here this evening to mark the publication of The Secret Broker, a thriller with a difference; written by Simon Crane, a man of many parts, who excels in every sphere of activity that he undertakes, due to his enthusiasm and obsession to achieve the highest degree of professionalism.

An investment banker as well as an entrepreneur and financier at an international level for more than thirty years, he has now turned his skills to write this first book, which in the words of Andrew Neil is: ‘Utterly addictive. It will keep you on the edge of your seat.’

To summarise the story would be hard and could never adequately render it the credit this skilfully constructed tale deserves. And that’s the ‘difference’ I attributed to the novel in the opening words of this address.

However I will tell you that the action begins far out to sea, during a fierce storm when a Japanese ship is commandeered by mercenaries who kill one of the crew and then vanish. North Korea flexes it military muscle by firing a cruise missile into Japanese airspace, and an unidentified body is mutilated and dumped on the border between Russia, China and North Korea. And from there on, a crescendo of action begins to reach uncharted heights.

I can also tell you that Simon proves himself to be a masterly and inventive storyteller with an intuitive flair that keeps the reader absorbed until the very end, and then wanting more.

I’m in no doubt he will continue along this literary path and continue to thrill us with his new found talent as a novelist. We must hopefully expect more books to come from such a gifted writer.

There is an axiom in the book-trade that the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and now’s the time to dip into your pockets and show us the colour of your money. Let’s all encourage Simon by buying as many copies of his first book as we can possibly afford or carry, both to spread the word but more importantly, to make him feel appreciated for writing his first exciting thriller. Let there be many more!

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