The debut novel from TV screenwriter Sean Black, 'Lockdown' will appeal to those who like action, one liners and short, pacy chapters.

Ryan Lock is a former British Royal Military Police officer now taking the corporate dollar as bodyguard to the bosses of the biggest pharmaceutical and biotech firm in America. When pressure from animal rights activists forces the suits into a corner, a deal is reached. Ten minutes later one of the group's leaders is shot dead in front of head office. And as Lock tries to piece together the clues - was the crusader or the CEO the target? - he gets involved in the search for the kidnapped child of one of the company's scientists.

Author Lee Child is the leader of the 'tough guy' book market with his Jack Reacher adventures but Lock has lots of potential and Black could be on his way to bestsellers and Hollywood if he fixes some small things.

In terms of structure, at times it feels like the two plots here - the kidnap and the whodunit - are competing and readers may think that one is more interesting than the other. When it comes to characters, Black needs to make the likes of Lock's on-off reporter girlfriend and bodyguard buddy more interesting if they're to deserve page space in the future.

While the ending blurs the line between fast and rushed, along the way there is plenty to inspire fist-pumping and smirks. Black is a good writer and this is a fine debut. Roll on book number two.

Harry Guerin