Thursday, March 15, 2012


Adrian Magson is the author of 11 crime and spy thrillers and a YA ghost book, and a writer's help book (Write On!). He is now working on a French crime series set in Picardie in the 1960s and a contemporary spy series featuring former MI5 officer Harry Tate.

His latest thriller in the Harry Tate series is Deception, which brings Harry on the trail of the Protectory, a renegade group who seek out British army deserters and drain them of technical and other secret data to sell to the highest bidder.

Magson applied the Page 69 Test to Deception and reported the following:
The Protectory promise the deserters a new life and documentation in return, but this is just a scam, and one of the deserters has been murdered by the Protectory’s killers while trying to get across the border from Germany into Poland. His passport and cellphone have been found by a local man, who takes them to Sylvia Heidl, once a worker for the Stasi. As Sylvia knows only too well, such items can be sold, if you know the right people to approach. But the paranoia of her former profession is working against her.
A sound outside brought her head up, fear clutching at her breast. Then she relaxed, recognizing old Bendl’s asthmatic coughing. He shuffled down the foul smelling stairs in the darkness each morning, on his way to the refinery where he worked as a clerk. Like the few who had jobs here, he started early and finished late, eager to work punishing hours for next to nothing, since earning nothing was simply to fade and die.

As the footsteps receded, she wondered what Ulf would say. Her brother was a doctor, although not the kind who could help her. An army medic for many years, he knew a lot about battle wounds but precious little about cancerous growths caused by the toxic air which attacked you as you breathed. But with his part-time job at the hospital, he knew people he could ask … people with access to drugs which help manage the pain she is suffering with increasing regularity.

She reached over and picked up the mobile phone, and brushed off a thin smear of mud, where old Wilhelm had handled it.

‘See if Ulf can sell these in town,’ he’d suggested tentatively, pushing the mobile and the slim red book into her hands. He had come straight round after his walk and woken her up, pounding on the door as if his life depended on it. ‘He might even be able to return them to the owner … for a reward. We can share in whatever he gets.’ He’d gone on to explain where he’d found the jacket and, in the pocket, the mobile phone and the British passport. ‘I would do it myself, but I don’t know who to speak to. I don’t get into town much these days.’

What he meant, Sylvia thought cynically, was that Ulf had been in the East German army and Sylvia had been in the … the job she’d been in. To Wilhelm, that meant they had contacts … people who knew things. He was one of very few people who knew about Sylvia’s past, although he cared nothing about it. History is history, he often said pragmatically, best forgotten.
It’s another clue in the trail for Harry Tate, hired to find a high-value British officer who has disappeared from her post in Afghanistan. Lt Vanessa Tan is thought to have been targeted by the Protectory. But Sylvia’s brother Claus is about to bring Harry another step closer… and unwittingly, closer to the Protectory’s killers. And Harry is running out of time.
Learn more about the book and author at Adrian Magson's website.

--Marshal Zeringue