Moore writes with professional assurance. He paints distinctive and (mostly) believable characters (the girlfriend is perhaps a bit twee). He doesn’t just tell a nailbiting story (although this is more a nailbiting incident, much of the book is not about car chases and shouting): much of the incident is to raise questions about what is the appropriate response of an individual (and, by extension, readers) to (in this case IRA) terrorism.
The end of the story (spoiler) is a telling moral. I thought the lead character was acting stupidly casually about a real threat, and didn’t quite get why he would put himself at such risk – given that he’d had a genuine scare and knew that those he was potentially a threat to had no qualms about killing. But I suspect that to highlight Moore’s message: we can’t afford to be as complacent as we are – these people are genuinely dangerous. And genuinely vile: although he goes to the trouble of giving his IRA characters different and human personalities, their cause, and particularly their methods, are shown to be utterly contemptible.
But for all its drama and competence, I read this book at a distance. I was aware that it was exploring an idea more than I was engrossed in a story. I never really engaged with anyone.