Rat Trap (1976)

His first novel and also his shortest. Set in the mid 1970s it concerns a plane hijacking and a prisoner release that goes very wrong.

Surprisingly (and cleverly) a great chunk of the novel is told through the eyes of a Middle Eastern terrorist who escapes from custody en route to the airport where the hijacked airliner awaits. Much of the book follows his attempts to escape the police and army who continue to close in.

The action also moves to the aircraft and to those trying to secure the release of the passengers. We learn that the hijackers, a highly strung bunch, have been bankrolled by a mysterious American known only as "Mr, J". Strangly we never hear about Mr. J again even though Thomas has used a large cast of recurring characters throughout the subsequent novels.

His main character Aubrey does not appear but is mentioned near the end of the book. Also another character, Latymer, will reappear in Wolfsbane.

I feel that the book itself ends suddenly, almost as if Craig had had enough. A very good first novel.