Books & Literature

Book Review: State of Fear (John Bailey Book 2), by Tim Ayliffe

Catching the world’s most wanted terrorist was supposed to be someone else’s job but John Bailey has a history of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Fearful truths are plucked from the headlines as battered journalist John Bailey returns.
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Tim Ayliffe returns with his second novel about the alcohol-fuelled journalist, John Bailey. It’s been 10-years since Bailey was kidnapped and tortured by terrorist Mutafa al-Baghadi who has worked his way up in the ‘Most Wanted’ hierarchy.

On a lecture tour in London, Bailey is reconnected with his former kidnapper when he witnesses the brutal murder of an innocent woman and is, subsequently called by al-Baghadi and told that there is much more violence to come…and Bailey has only himself to blame. Returning to Australia, Bailey is reunited with his friend and CIA Agent Ronnie Johnson as they investigate the kidnapping of a refugee’s son – a man from their past – and the boy’s connection to the threatened terrorist attacks.

As Bailey and Johnson search for answers to the nature and location of the attacks, as well as the motivation for Bailey as the focal point, it is soon obvious that no-one that Bailey cares for is safe. Secrets from the past are revealed and events of the present shake Bailey’s resolve to the core.

State of Fear traverses the transcontinental line, moving from London to Sydney, then back to London. It is filled with the attention to detail that comes from having lived in these locations. This local and international knowledge provides the reader with stunning visuals and linguistic charms that enhance the known characters and adds dimension to the new ones.

Once again, Ayliffe has written a roller-coaster ride of a novel, weaving in the characters and their relationships from the first book, The Greater Good. He brings a human touch to the inhumane acts of terrorists, questions the nature of fundamentalism, and packs a punch in the violent finale of this exciting work of reality-inspired fiction.

The final novel of the John Bailey trilogy, Nowhere Man, will be released in 2020.

Reviewed by Glen Christie

Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: August 2019
RRP: $29.99

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