Book review: Safe From Harm by RJ Bailey

In the volatile and dangerous world of London's super rich, a small, intrepid band of close protection officers must keep the billionaires, oligarchs, tycoons and famous names safe from harm.

Wednesday, 4th January 2017, 8:56 am
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:11 pm
Safe From Harm by RJ Bailey
Safe From Harm by RJ Bailey

But what happens when a bodyguard’s personal and professional lives clash? Who comes first when the stakes are high… your family or your client?

Welcome to the exciting first novel from debut author RJ Bailey, an intriguing cat-and-mouse thriller and the opener for what promises to be a highly original and gripping new series starring that rarest and most intriguing of characters… a tough nut female protection operative.

Safe From Harm is the work of RJ Bailey, an enigmatic author who appears to have studiously avoided providing clues to their identity or sex but who writes with either the fascinating knowledge of an insider, after hours of exhaustive research, or by means of an impressively powerful imagination.

Addictive, full of fast-moving action and with more twists and turns than a ride on a rollercoaster, this is full-on, high octane reading with a brilliantly unexpected sting in the tail.

Ex-Army and Afghanistan veteran Sam Wylde is a close protection officer in London, a city of eight million people where the super-rich flock, and where their enemies follow. It pays them to be paranoid as any stranger could be a threat, and so a close protection operative is the must-have accessory for anyone who is anyone.

In a world dominated by men, being a woman bodyguard has its advantage. A female close protection officer can be tough enough to counter any threat and yet still blend into the crowd. And Sam is the best in the business.

Sam can pack a suitcase of essentials in minutes, pull down her ‘psychological barriers’ and block out all ‘extraneous emotions’ in the twinkling of an eye. Nothing – apart from the job in hand – gets through to her.

But Sam has been through the mill. Her husband Paul, who worked for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, died under mysterious circumstances two years ago leaving her alone to bring up troubled teenage daughter Jess.

After a bruising brush with some dangerous Russians, Sam takes a job protecting schoolgirl Nuzha, daughter of the Sharifs, Pakistani textile tycoons, but she soon realises that there is more to their organisation than meets the eye and suddenly finds herself in peril.

Soon she will be faced with a terrible dilemma. Dangerous men are coming to harm both herself and Nuzha. Who should she save? Her own daughter, or the little girl she is paid to keep safe?

From its opening gambit to the nail-biting final showdown, Bailey’s whirlwind thriller draws us into the frenetic action and grips like a vice as we hurtle through big city corruption, violence, intrigue, menace and deadly danger.

Safe From Harm offers both a fascinating close-up of the realities of personal protection work as well as delivering a pulsating and powerful first outing for the determined, resourceful, fearless, fiercely professional and utterly irresistible Samantha Rae Wylde.

(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)