If you're looking for an absorbing thriller to throw into your bag for some light, by-the-pool summer reading, Jeff Abbott's eighth book, 'Panic', is well worth packing.

One Friday morning, 24-year-old documentary filmmaker Evan Casher is woken by the phone and an urgent summons from his mother. Three hours later he arrives home to discover that she has been brutally murdered and there's a hitman waiting for him. His life is thrown upside down when he suddenly starts to realise that everything he's known about his life is a lie. With his life and that of his father in danger, Evan - not knowing who to trust anymore - has to go on the run.

Evan is an unusually resourceful, if a little one-dimensional, hero. Although there's a little angst involved, he seems to take confused identities, missing pasts and CIA double agents in his stride - obviously as a result of the skills that he learned from as a documentary filmmaker. Written like a film script, it's difficult not to picture Keanu Reeves playing the part of the stoic yet inventive young man who wanders through the (sometimes too) elaborate plot, the events of which take place in just one action-packed week.

Quibbles aside, 'Panic' is a fast, furious and fun read. Just suspend your disbelief and dive in.

Caroline Hennessy