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A Terminal Agenda

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When the only form of justice that counts is your own DCI Nick Severance investigates murders, a rare occurrence in the City of London. When a man dies violently one morning, only yards from the police station, the motive eludes him. The victim had recently been in India, looking for an ancient tomb that could contain something priceless. Was that reason enough to kill him? When the only form of justice that counts is your own DCI Nick Severance investigates murders, a rare occurrence in the City of London. When a man dies violently one morning, only yards from the police station, the motive eludes him. The victim had recently been in India, looking for an ancient tomb that could contain something priceless. Was that reason enough to kill him? What seems to be a crime motivated by money, becomes something far more sinister. As the chief suspects continue to elude Nick, another agenda reveals itself, one that will bring death and destruction on a far larger scale. And anyone who compromises that agenda will be eliminated. As events unfold and the stakes get higher, Nick must confront the prospect of losing everything he holds dear, and taking a course of action that will change his life in ways he never imagined.


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When the only form of justice that counts is your own DCI Nick Severance investigates murders, a rare occurrence in the City of London. When a man dies violently one morning, only yards from the police station, the motive eludes him. The victim had recently been in India, looking for an ancient tomb that could contain something priceless. Was that reason enough to kill him? When the only form of justice that counts is your own DCI Nick Severance investigates murders, a rare occurrence in the City of London. When a man dies violently one morning, only yards from the police station, the motive eludes him. The victim had recently been in India, looking for an ancient tomb that could contain something priceless. Was that reason enough to kill him? What seems to be a crime motivated by money, becomes something far more sinister. As the chief suspects continue to elude Nick, another agenda reveals itself, one that will bring death and destruction on a far larger scale. And anyone who compromises that agenda will be eliminated. As events unfold and the stakes get higher, Nick must confront the prospect of losing everything he holds dear, and taking a course of action that will change his life in ways he never imagined.

30 review for A Terminal Agenda

  1. 5 out of 5

    Erik Rivenes

    I liked "A Terminal Agenda", by author Mark McKay. It was a smooth, easy-to-digest, well-edited book with a solid and interesting main character, British Detective Severance. McKay has a good sense for dialogue and setting. He visits some exotic locales around the world, and he paints vivid pictures of India and Japan. The author seems to have a great knowledge of Japanese culture especially, as he explains with obvious love, the world of Japanese martial arts, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I thin I liked "A Terminal Agenda", by author Mark McKay. It was a smooth, easy-to-digest, well-edited book with a solid and interesting main character, British Detective Severance. McKay has a good sense for dialogue and setting. He visits some exotic locales around the world, and he paints vivid pictures of India and Japan. The author seems to have a great knowledge of Japanese culture especially, as he explains with obvious love, the world of Japanese martial arts, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think my main criticisms of the book would relate to the pacing and build-up of the plot. There isn't much "thrill" in this thriller until the very end, and even then the action scenes are short, and at times surgical. The author creates a wonderfully evil villainess, Sylvie Dajani, but the briefness of her final encounter with Severance left me a tad unsatisfied. Plot points, such as Rebecca's escape from her captors, would have made a riveting read if written as a first-person edge-of-your-seat account, but the author chose instead to tell it as an "already happened" narrative. Outside of my issues with how the suspense in the novel is built and maintained, I see great potential in Mr. McKay's writing. He has a great imagination, and again, I really liked being transported around the world with the well-traveled Nick Severance.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ted Tayler

    "A heady mix" This starts out as if it's going to be a straight-forward police procedural. Then it switches continents and suddenly I was waiting for Indiana Jones to appear. When the story moved further East, the aikido swordsmanship aspect added yet another twist. The writing style makes for an easy read, but the mixture of characters and situations could cause some readers to lose focus. There's a lot of action to keep the reader interested; so perhaps the slight confusion in genres can be for "A heady mix" This starts out as if it's going to be a straight-forward police procedural. Then it switches continents and suddenly I was waiting for Indiana Jones to appear. When the story moved further East, the aikido swordsmanship aspect added yet another twist. The writing style makes for an easy read, but the mixture of characters and situations could cause some readers to lose focus. There's a lot of action to keep the reader interested; so perhaps the slight confusion in genres can be forgiven.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J Davies

    Simply a great read. This book has it all. A hero with flaws, really nasty villains, a clever intricate plot and great locations. It's all well described and is a real page turner. Thank you Mark. I shall read more of your work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Robin Peacock

    Mark McKay writes well and with some style, his prose is easily readable but sadly, lacks pace and punch. There is no sense of 'thrill' in this thriller. Everything pans out in an orderly fashion, even the deaths of the ancillary characters in the story. His hero, Detective Severance, is a stock police detective; methodical, persistent and none too bright when it comes to putting two and two together. The story centers around some rare artifacts of great value and the inevitable deaths such weal Mark McKay writes well and with some style, his prose is easily readable but sadly, lacks pace and punch. There is no sense of 'thrill' in this thriller. Everything pans out in an orderly fashion, even the deaths of the ancillary characters in the story. His hero, Detective Severance, is a stock police detective; methodical, persistent and none too bright when it comes to putting two and two together. The story centers around some rare artifacts of great value and the inevitable deaths such wealth seems to generate in these stories. The plot is put together rather as a narrative of the almost inevitable consequence of involving as many disparate characters as possible; they all must have a place somewhere. They are spread far and wide throughout the world and seemingly travel simply to take us to as many locations as possible. The story became somewhat lame after the inevitable death towards the end of the story; urging our hero to retaliate when he eventually found the killer. The climax to the story was an anti-climax in the truest sense of the word. The build-up of tension seemed lacking and the final scene passed in a flash, as if the author had a dinner date he did not want to miss. I am being hyper-critical here but the lack of pace and thrills means i am deducting one star and the weak ending another. With a little more pace and a genuinely exciting ending this book would be 5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pontiki

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. ***SPOILER ALERT***I wish this had been better. I liked Nick, and some of the descriptions of his Aikido were very interesting. But, the writing was awkward and confusing. It wasn't clear who certain characters were, and the last chapter and epilogue were awful. The stolen lion figures was a good mystery, but Nick's relationship with Lauren wasn't fleshed out well. Her killing and his revenge twisted things into a strange direction, and then the last part crammed in a move to India, an aikido tr ***SPOILER ALERT***I wish this had been better. I liked Nick, and some of the descriptions of his Aikido were very interesting. But, the writing was awkward and confusing. It wasn't clear who certain characters were, and the last chapter and epilogue were awful. The stolen lion figures was a good mystery, but Nick's relationship with Lauren wasn't fleshed out well. Her killing and his revenge twisted things into a strange direction, and then the last part crammed in a move to India, an aikido trainer and sexual partner, and a friend with a child, conveniently, whom he had dreamt about. Some good story elements, but too chunky and rushed at the end.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dave Bate

    My interest was there right to the end as the journey takes us from London to India to France to Japan to Kent. Not your pigeon holed British Police thriller but an unusual ride that ends in readiness for a new career for DCI Severance. Bit of a roller coaster ride at that, losing his girlfriend, his job and his identity. Thought it was a bit lame though in the way he decided to ‘quit’ the force, he seemed to have a good self defence case but I suppose the manner of the self defence would have r My interest was there right to the end as the journey takes us from London to India to France to Japan to Kent. Not your pigeon holed British Police thriller but an unusual ride that ends in readiness for a new career for DCI Severance. Bit of a roller coaster ride at that, losing his girlfriend, his job and his identity. Thought it was a bit lame though in the way he decided to ‘quit’ the force, he seemed to have a good self defence case but I suppose the manner of the self defence would have raised a few eyebrows. It is all set up now for a new era, I will probably join the ride of the trilogy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    A Terminal Agenda (Severance #1) by Mark McKay Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Nick Severance investigates a murder in the City of London. An anthropologist has violently died one morning near the police station. DCI Severance seeks to find an answer to who killed the man. The story takes the reader from London to India, France and Japan in search of an answer. This is a fast-paced story with hidden ancient artifacts, a touch of compassion, deceit, mayhem and love. DCI Severance’s adventure incl A Terminal Agenda (Severance #1) by Mark McKay Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Nick Severance investigates a murder in the City of London. An anthropologist has violently died one morning near the police station. DCI Severance seeks to find an answer to who killed the man. The story takes the reader from London to India, France and Japan in search of an answer. This is a fast-paced story with hidden ancient artifacts, a touch of compassion, deceit, mayhem and love. DCI Severance’s adventure includes more murders, along with a wealthy art dealer, terrorists and a master of Aikido. Overall, a very enjoyable read with a touching ending.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marcus

    A very good book detailing police procedures in the aftermath of several murders. Even though this is a book depicting police procedures, it is not dry and neither does it spend all of its time depicting the cause and effect of these murders. The story line is fast developing, with very engaging characters, plot is believe able, twists and turns of the plot are top notch and tend to draw the reader in, and the climax is very satisfying. There are several twists in the plot that will catch the re A very good book detailing police procedures in the aftermath of several murders. Even though this is a book depicting police procedures, it is not dry and neither does it spend all of its time depicting the cause and effect of these murders. The story line is fast developing, with very engaging characters, plot is believe able, twists and turns of the plot are top notch and tend to draw the reader in, and the climax is very satisfying. There are several twists in the plot that will catch the reader by surprise, but they only enhance the complete telling of the story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    This started out as a standard British police procedural but then the wild elements started to get added: ancient precious artifact excavations, illicit fine art sales, terrorist funding schemes, remote martial arts studios, off-the-books intelligence agencies, etc. etc. All of this ranged from highly unlikely to completely impossible, but it was a pretty good story! I liked the hero (Severance) and the plot moved right along. I'm interested enough to want to read the next two books in the serie This started out as a standard British police procedural but then the wild elements started to get added: ancient precious artifact excavations, illicit fine art sales, terrorist funding schemes, remote martial arts studios, off-the-books intelligence agencies, etc. etc. All of this ranged from highly unlikely to completely impossible, but it was a pretty good story! I liked the hero (Severance) and the plot moved right along. I'm interested enough to want to read the next two books in the series. So, in summary - low on realism, but high on enjoyment.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scot

    This one entertained me, as it started moving around the globe to a range of different settings, and the plot headed in directions I didn't expect with events related to some of the secondary characters. Nick Severance, a British detective developing his Japanese martial arts skills, gets pulled into an investigation over some rare Indian archaeological artifacts. Well, that's where we start, anyway. I liked the protagonist. One small thing -- the cover and title made me believe that a big showdo This one entertained me, as it started moving around the globe to a range of different settings, and the plot headed in directions I didn't expect with events related to some of the secondary characters. Nick Severance, a British detective developing his Japanese martial arts skills, gets pulled into an investigation over some rare Indian archaeological artifacts. Well, that's where we start, anyway. I liked the protagonist. One small thing -- the cover and title made me believe that a big showdown in an airport would be the climax. This was a red herring.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Vengeance is Mine The compelling plot of "A Terminal Agenda" is built on the personal evolution of protagonist, Nick Severance. We see his character develop as he transitions through the Aikido training and then we watch in horror as his personal tragedy unfolds and Nick becomes the embodiment of an avenging angel. I'm a sucker for a good thriller. I've already downloaded the 2nd book in the series, "A Trade to Die For".

  12. 4 out of 5

    David Huelsmann

    An interesting book about obscure rare objects discovered in India that lead to several deaths. DCI Nick Severance is the main character. I view him as somewhat plodding in his approach to solving the various cases that arise. The language used can be somewhat stilted at times. This ends up being a multi-country involvement for DCI Nick Severance who ,as it turns out, is quite adept in Japanese martial arts. Who knew?

  13. 5 out of 5

    D. George

    Good,... ...though certainly not perfect, opener of what could be an interesting series. Some rather frustrating aspects (felt more than once like it needed an editor), but also some great strengths (particularly the main plot ideas). Liked it enough to be more than willing to read the next installment, but not enough to be 100% certain that I'll ever bother to get around to that.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christian

    I liked the book very much, which is a surprise since I seriously considered to stop reading after chapter 2. What starts out as a typical police mystery develops into a story of Internatioal intrigue and terrorism. Some plot elements are regrettably telegraphed quite clearly during the story, and it somewhat defies logic, but it's an enjoyable read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Berkley

    Something More than a Police Procedural A well written tale that appears to be a standard police procedural but, with a massive explosion, morphs into much more. There is a flatness in the telling of what should be a highly emotional story that, for me, is the major flaw in what could be a 5-star read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Vivian Gregory

    Fun read Enjoyed the book but it was a little hard to get emotionally involved with the characters. It was hard to believe that the main character was so smart about some things but not smart enough to see the danger to his pregnant financee. In spite of this I'd read another book in the series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anthony

    It a good story, But perhaps a little far fetched The author is obviously an aikido fan and probably practiced too. I do fell that it could have been longer and the police procedure perhaps a little more researched. Though for all my criticism I would probably read another one of his; for if its nothing else its a page turning story. Thank you

  18. 5 out of 5

    Scooby Doo

    DNF: 10% So far it's a bare procedural with no embellishment. The hero seemed cold, distance, and dispassionate. Even telling a sister of her brother's death he was succinct and lacking in any warmth. Plus I'm bored by archaeology.

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    A criminal investigator from London gets involved in tracking down a group selling priceless artifacts looted from an ancient tomb. The situation starts with a murder outside of a restaurant across the street from the police headquarters. As he investigates, Nick Severance is drawn to a small town south of Kolkata (Calcutta), India where priceless artifacts were recently discovered. The trail extends from London to France, Denmark, India, Japan, and back to London. In the process, he finds that A criminal investigator from London gets involved in tracking down a group selling priceless artifacts looted from an ancient tomb. The situation starts with a murder outside of a restaurant across the street from the police headquarters. As he investigates, Nick Severance is drawn to a small town south of Kolkata (Calcutta), India where priceless artifacts were recently discovered. The trail extends from London to France, Denmark, India, Japan, and back to London. In the process, he finds that his local aikido instructor is a valuable resource, not only for self defense training, but also for intelligence. There are bodies, both good guys and bad, strewn across three continents.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jenn Swanson

    This book was full of suspense and kept me wanting to finish it. I would find myself disappointed when I had to put this down to deal with life in general. If you are looking for action and mystery and suspense I would recommend this.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janine

    This book goes through all the different things possible. From Indiana Jones to some martial art stuff (his aikido) and then we see James Bond. It is an interesting novel, and I believe it is part of a trilogy, interested in reading the rest of them.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Pummill

    A Terminal Agenda (The Severance Series Book 1) Rarely have I enjoyed a book as much as I did this book. Kept you interested at all times waiting to see what was going to happen next. Never slowed down

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carol Simmons

    Excellent Book First time reading this author will continue reading all future books. Nick and is desire to bring criminals to justice. Nick demonstrated his love and willing to learn a good story. Ready for next book

  24. 5 out of 5

    Hw Huyler

    Great fast moving story, interesting characters Great fast moving story, interesting characters. DCI SEVERENCE LEADS US THROUGH INTRICATE PLOTS THAT KEEPS THE READER INTERESTED AND MIVING ON.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Guy

    A great tale, with the door left open As Book 1 of a series, this is quite an opener. DCI Nick Severance is well introduced. I’m anxious to read the the rest of the series, even though It looks like much of the environment will change.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rita

    I loved this book. It was full of action and drama. I loved the characters and the suspense. It is a book I will remember. I also loved the ending despite it being sad. The author writes in a unique way which I like. I am now following this author.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mimi Davis Hopkins

    Sacred Secrets This is a very interesting and we'll written books. The characters are all very well defined and their roles are very interesting. The plot is great and the flow of threes story is great.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Cacek

    Gripping tale of theft and betrayal Fast-starting story of law enforcement fighting intrigue, theft, murder and betrayal. Extremely well written, binds you as part of it. Very believable characters and situations. An absolute must read!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephen F. Johnson

    A well written police thriller I liked this book a lot. Nick Severance is a smart London detective. The other characters are well developed. The plot is interesting with veggies venues in the UK, Japan and India. Sadly, too much violence for my taste.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Mihalchick

    Better than expected This was better than I expected it to be. The story pulled me in and kept me interested. Some parts are a little hard to believe,but overall a good read. British authors don't seem to include as much gun play as American authors do, and I like that.

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