It’s been a little over three years since we first met Jaq Silver, the central character in Fiona Erskine’s all-action debut novel ‘The Chemical Detective’. With a typewriter that clacks along at a similar pace to her plotlines, Erskine has delivered the third instalment of her series. And what a difference that short space of time has made. While here at E&T we’ve been devoted Erskine fans since day one, it’s hard to disguise the fact that her novels get better and better every time she goes to press. While we enjoyed book one and were impressed by the second, the third – ‘The Chemical Cocktail’ (Point Blank, £8.99, ISBN 9780861540334) – moves Erskine out of the ‘emerging’ category of thriller writer, beyond the velvet-covered ropes, and into the area reserved for those who have arrived. It won’t be long before we simply call the series ‘the Jaq Silver books’.

As a chemical engineer Erskine likes nothing more than a decent formula, which is precisely...

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