Hailed for her rich and powerful works of psychological suspense as well as her New York Times bestselling mysteries, Laurie R King now takes us to a remote cottage in Cornwall where a gripping tale of intrigue, terrorism, and explosive passions begins with a visit to a recluse upon whom the fate of an entire nation may rest a man code named TouchstoneIt s eight years after the Great War shattered Bennett Grey s life, leaving him with an excruciating sensitivity to the potential of human violence, and making social contact all but impossible Once studied by British intelligence for his unique abilities, Grey has withdrawn from a rapidly changing world until an American Bureau of Investigation agent comes to investigate for himself Grey s potential as a weapon in a vicious new kind of warfare Agent Harris Stuyvesant desperately needs Grey s help entering a world where the rich and the radical exist side by side a heady mix of the powerful and the celebrated, among whom lurks an enemy ready to strike a deadly blow at democracy on both sides of the AtlanticHere, among a titled family whose servants dress in whimsical costumes and whose daughter conducts an open affair with a man who wants to bring down the government, Stuyvesant finds himself dangerously seduced by one woman and even dangerously falling in love with another And as he sifts through secrets divulged and kept, he uncovers the target of a horrifying conspiracy, and wonders if he can trust his touchstone, Grey, to reveal the most dangerous player of allBuilding to an astounding climax on an ancient English estate, Touchstone is both a harrowing thriller by a master of the genre and a thought provoking exploration of the forces that drive history and human destinies It took me a little while to get into this political thriller a stand alone book from King, whom I love for her excellent series Set in the 1920s, in an England torn between unions and a conservative government, an American agent arrives seeking a terrorist suspect Secret agents and terrorists aren t really my favourite sort of books, so it took me a little while to get past that, after which I really enjoyed this.It s not your average secret agent terrorist plot book, of course there s th It took me a little while to get into this political thriller a stand alone book from King, whom I love for her excellent series Set in the 1920s, in an England torn between unions and a conservative government, an American agent arrives seeking a terrorist suspect Secret agents and terrorists aren t really my favourite sort of books, so it took me a little while to get past that, after which I really enjoyed this.It s not your average secret agent terrorist plot book, of course there s the ex soldier with mysterious and debilitating abilities, the charismatic politician, the aristocratic family with ties to the unions it s wonderfully set up, with fantastic characters as you expect from King , and a conclusion that manages to devastate while still giving you some semblance of a happy ending When I started reading Laurie R King s Mary Russell Sherlock Holmes series a couple of years ago after a very long break from her work, I didn t know about this novel First published in 2007, it s been a standalone work until recently, when a second novel featuring the same main protagonists, The Bones of Paris, was published I like King s writing Her prose is excellent, she does a good job creating interesting if not always believable characters, her evocation of time and place is powerf When I started reading Laurie R King s Mary Russell Sherlock Holmes series a couple of years ago after a very long break from her work, I didn t know about this novel First published in 2007, it s been a standalone work until recently, when a second novel featuring the same main protagonists, The Bones of Paris, was published I like King s writing Her prose is excellent, she does a good job creating interesting if not always believable characters, her evocation of time and place is powerful and she weaves historical events and personalities into her stories in an interesting and unforced manner Touchstone is something of a departure from King s Mary Russell Sherlock Holmes series and her earlier Kate Martinelli series Rather than crime fiction, it s in the thriller genre The novel is set in England in 1926, in the lead up to a national strike in support of coal miners Harris Stuyvesant, an agent with the Bureau of Investigation precursor to the FBI is in London following a lead in his investigation into a series of politically motivated bombings in the US He crosses paths with the sinister eminence grise Aldous Carstairs and shell shocked veteran Bennett Grey, a man whose war injuries have given him a particular sensitivity to deception Grey is one of those interesting but not very believable characters King is particularly good at creating The narrative is in the third person omniscient style, giving an old fashioned feel to the work which I quite like, although the rapidity with which the perpective switches from one character to another was sometimes a little annoying Another feature of the work is its sedate pace I don t read many thrillers and I don t need my fiction to be action packed, but even taking my patience with a slow narrative into account, there were times when this one went too slowly for me There are too many cigarettes smoked, too many cups of coffee drunk and too many drinking sessions and hangovers described in minute detail This does not make for a particularly thrilling thriller.I worked out well, correctly guessed the identity of the perpetrator early on However, I doubted myself because my guess didn t seem particularly credible And indeed, the climax of the action was anything but credible However, that happens in crime fiction and in thrillers too, I suppose so there s no point in reading such novels at all if you can t cross the suspension bridge of disbelief and enjoy the view from the other side Notwithstanding my reservations, I enjoyed the view enough to give this 3 to 3.5 stars I also liked it enough to move straight on to its newly published sequel What can I say, it was there, ready to go And it s set in 1920s Paris, one of my favourite literary locations I listened to the audiobook version which is competently narrated by American actor Jefferson Mays He s not bad at the English voices although he mostly sounds like an American putting on an English accent and a Welsh accent proved beyond his ability and he doesn t come over all falsetto with the female characters All in all, Mays made listening pleasant I usually like Laurie King s books, she s on my author alert at the library, but I took this out TWICE from the library, and couldn t finish it either time The second time, I didn t even want to pick it up there were just too many other interesting things to do or read.The first time I got about halfway through before I had to return the book The subject matter wasn t terribly interesting to me it takes place in the 1920s, and involves espionage and one man who was left with psychic abiliti I usually like Laurie King s books, she s on my author alert at the library, but I took this out TWICE from the library, and couldn t finish it either time The second time, I didn t even want to pick it up there were just too many other interesting things to do or read.The first time I got about halfway through before I had to return the book The subject matter wasn t terribly interesting to me it takes place in the 1920s, and involves espionage and one man who was left with psychic abilities from his injuries in WWI So, perhaps this is a better book for someone who is interested in period pieces and warfare This was a haunting book that carefully toed the line between supernatural fiction and mystery Laurie King is the author of several excellent series the Holmes Russell books are among my all time favorites and this was definitely closer to the suspense thriller side of mystery than her others The story involves an FBI agent tracking down a terrorist in the 1920 s, who gets pulled into a creepy organization built around a man with a very disturbing ability The whole book has an air of melanc This was a haunting book that carefully toed the line between supernatural fiction and mystery Laurie King is the author of several excellent series the Holmes Russell books are among my all time favorites and this was definitely closer to the suspense thriller side of mystery than her others The story involves an FBI agent tracking down a terrorist in the 1920 s, who gets pulled into a creepy organization built around a man with a very disturbing ability The whole book has an air of melancholy, and all of the characters are already wounded in some way, whether physically or emotionally, and only faceof it during their lives Still, it never really crosses into being maudlin, probably because of the crisp action scenes and the humor of the setting Laurie King is truly a master storyteller, and this book only misses a five because I compare it to The Beekeeper s Apprentice and A Monstrous Regiment of Women, which I still think are better