Michael Dobbs' writing may not be high art, but, by gum, he's fun to read. A Sentimental Traitor is the fifth in his Harry Jones series of novels (I haven't read any of the others, and you really don't need to either to thoroughly enjoy this one). Harry is a Tory MP with an eye to the next election; wealthy, elected to a safe seat, well-connected, and with a new and extremely likeable girlfriend, all seems well in Harry's world. Then just before Christmas a jumbo jet crash lands in the Thames killing all on board. What appears at first to be a terrible tragedy soon has an even darker side when it's discovered that the plane was shot down by a handheld missile seasonably known as a Grinch.

Dobbs is excellent at using a mix of real-life news stories and the prevailing zeitgeist, and spinning them into a compelling tale. Yes, a lot of it is hokum (unless you're a UKIP supporter or otherwise wildly anti-EU in which case you'll probably believe every word); but it has just enough truth behind it, combined with a good dose of suspicion, a dollop of conspiracy theory, and some great page turning writing to keep any thriller reader happy. There's even a villain who strokes a cat - Hoorah!

For anyone who isn't completely fed up with British political life following the last election, there are also some fun moments with Dobbs' insider view of the highs and lows of an election campaign - I particularly enjoyed the post-election party for MPs who had failed to be re-elected and were about to be given a free pass to the House of Lords "The end up a peer show".

A sentimental traitor is often daft, but despite that I thoroughly enjoyed every page turning moment.


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