The Lighterman Review: An Intense Thriller That Will Keep You Hooked

the lighterman

The third in the Charles Holborne series, Simon Michael’s gripping novel evoking the dark and twisted setting of 60s London. There is a hint of John le Carré in this tough legal thriller that packs a punch as the reader is swept along towards a fascinating conclusion.

Following on from the first two novels featuring Criminal Barrister Charles Holborne, The Brief and An Honest Man, The Lighterman begins with a jaw-dropping action scene. The spellbound reader is drawn into a bombing that evokes the horror of the Second World War with a flashback to 1940s London, which is in the grip of terror as Germany bombs the city and its residents flee.

It is in this intense start that sets the pace for this intense and well-crafted book, as we follow Charles in his quest to protect his family and his reputation. His past returning to haunt him, and Charles is forced to face up to the consequences of his previous actions.

One of the best things about this novel is the names, some of which could have come straight out of a P.G. Wodehouse novel. From Ninu Azzopardi to Billy Hill, the characters’ names are so incredibly unbelievable that they become realistic, and add another dimension to the complex and intriguing people who populate this rich story.

With a great combination of history, adventure and crime, The Lighterman is makes for a unique read that stays with you. Every now and then I see something or hear a phrase that reminds me of part a of Simon Michael’s exhilarating book. Despite flicking between the 40s and 60s, there is something deeply relatable about the novel that makes impossible to put down and leave readers riveted. This was another book that I have been meaning to review for a while, but once I started it reading it I found it impossible to put down and devoured it in less than a day. I would urge anyone who enjoys challenging, dark thrillers to check this out- you will not be disappointed.

6 thoughts on “The Lighterman Review: An Intense Thriller That Will Keep You Hooked

  1. CSC

    Delighted to find The Lighterman, next book in the Series, plus another in the works (dare I shout yippee?)

    I have now started to collect the first editions…but alas! No Lighterman hard cover? Woe is me…tell me it ain’t so SimonMichaelUK.


    1. What an absolutely fabulous review! It’s dated September last year – could I have missed it all this time? In any case, your enthusiasm for the book gave me goosebumps; so delighted it hit the spot and that you “got it”. Regrettably, no, no hard cover, but send me a postal address (to and I shall try to make amends with a signed paperback.


      1. No, I see that I DID spot it back then! Oh, another grey moment! Another marble lost. Well, the offer of a signed paperback still stands, and the 4th in the series, which carries right on after The Lighterman, is out in June: “Corrupted.”


  2. CSC

    How kind of you to reply and no, your grey matter is not falling by the wayside. I left the remarks on Jan 11, 2018.

    Anxiously awaiting June… hardback, right?


  3. Pingback: Corrupted Review: A Slick Thriller That Will Keep You Guessing – The Dorset Book Detective

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