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Safe House: A Thriller Hardcover – December 11, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Rob Hale regains consciousness after crashing his motorcycle, he finds himself in the middle of a mystery. Lena, the young women who was with him on the cycle ride, has gone missing, leaving no signs of her existence, with authorities questioning the accuracy of Rob’s memory. But Rob finds an ally in London private investigator Rebecca Lewis, who’s been summoned by Rob’s mother after the apparent suicide of his sister, Laura, just weeks earlier. Together Rebecca and Rob uncover a dangerous labyrinth of cover-ups and corruption that proves to have links to Laura’s secret life and puts their lives at risk. Rob Hale is a plumber, an Everyman who begins to trust no one as he becomes an inadvertent but canny player in an operation with extremely high stakes. Ewan, author of the Good Thief series of lighthearted capers, adds depth in this much more serious stand-alone, set on the Isle of Man, his home turf. With its well-structured plot, crisp dialogue, and moral ambiguities, this is a compelling mystery that could win him new fans. --Michele Leber


“Beautifully plotted.” ―Publishers Weekly, Pick of the Week (starred review)

“Both an emotional story of a family dealing with a tragedy and an action-packed tale of a young man caught up in an elaborate kidnapping.” ―Sun Sentinel

“Ewan has...elevated the everyman thriller into a compelling, contemporary read...Safe House is an exciting, well crafted thriller, with flashes of real humour and insight.” ―SJ Bolton on Safe House

“Taut plotting adds substance to . . . considerable style.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred) on The Good Thief's Guide to Venice

“Engaging characterizations, suspenseful stories, and sharp writing, makes The Good Thief novels feel fresh and exciting.” ―Booklist


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books (December 11, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781250012562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250012562
  • ASIN: 1250012562
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #646,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Ewan is an award-winning British author of eight novels. His popular series of mysteries about globetrotting thief-for-hire, Charlie Howard, include THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM, THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO PARIS, THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO VEGAS, THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO VENICE and THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO BERLIN. Chris has also written the standalone thrillers, SAFE HOUSE and DEAD LINE. Chris's latest standalone thriller, DARK TIDES, will be published in the UK by Faber & Faber in October 2014.

THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO AMSTERDAM won the Long Barn Books First Novel Award and went on to be published in 13 countries. SAFE HOUSE has been a major bestseller in the UK and was shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. In 2011, Chris was voted one of America's favourite British authors by a Huffington Post poll.

Born in Taunton in 1976, Chris graduated from the University of Nottingham with 1st Class Honours in American Studies with a minor in Canadian Literature, and later trained as a lawyer. He now lives on the Isle of Man with his wife, daughter and labrador, where he writes full time.

Find out more at You can also get in touch with Chris on Twitter @chrisewan or email him at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Bookworm on February 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read and a good story but too much unnecessary violence. Authors who write this kind of book are aiming to entertain rather than to inform or write good literature and I don't know why they seem to think that sickening violence is what we readers are looking for in entertainment. The story is improbable, but that doesn't really matter, the 'goodies' characters are well drawn, likeable and believable - the 'baddies' much less so. It's difficult to understand why a man who is apparently seeking information to find his missing daughter should, from the outset, menace and threaten two people who come forward with information for him. Anyhow, I enjoyed this book - the homely side with the grandpa, dog and the family are well done but the contrast between this and the horror of the murder/mystery side mean that the two sides of the book don't really sit well together.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By S. L. Smith TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chris Ewan places highly with his new mystery Safe House, which utilizes the Isle of Man's famous Tourist Trophy heritage. Rob is a heating tradesman who just wants to joyride with the new blonde he meets at his latest assignment. But an accident foils this love connection. From the moment the pair is separated mysteriously by paramedics, Rob's life will be anything but mundane.

Questions begin to stack up, keeping pace with the bodily injuries. What became of that blonde, whom no one else saw? Why are the local police so vehemently opposed to investigate not just this accident, but also the recent death of Rob's sister Laura? If his parents were satisfied that Laura's death was actually a suicide, then why do they hire private investigator Rebecca to look into the matter? Why does Rebecca think Rob's bike accident was not just a blow-out? As Rob and Rebecca find perilous answers that lead to more dire questions, the most worrying question will prove the most deadly: could Rob's accident and the missing girl both be related to Laura's death?

Frankly, although I was drawn to this mystery because of its venue, I debated tossing the book a few times. I was hampered by two aspects of Chris Ewan's writing. After an intriguing into, the pace flags considerably until the latter third of the book. Also, and most irksome to me, is Ewan's frequent switching from first person to third person. Usually, when a book uses the first person, a tacit agreement exists whereby the reader comes to know things solely via the narrator, and such a book tends to remain in first person for the duration. But having finished the book, and enjoying it overall, I think I better understand why Ewan uses both first and third person to make the story work the way it does.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Christina Slike on January 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Safe House has a well-planned plot without an obvious conclusion. I like the humor in Mr. Ewan's books too and how well he writes in first person. This one was an interesting mix as the reader gets a view into the main characters' thoughts as well as scenes from other point of views so we can see what is happening as the story unfolds, but the main character is kept in the dark and has to guess at the "what" and "who" and "why." This was a thoroughly enjoyable read that kept me up late at night!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Once I got all the characters straighted out, this work flowed as smooth as silk (that is not at all to imply that it was easy to solve). I have never seen more red herrings that were not really red herrings, and yet were - you have to read it to understand. Bad guy - good guy - yikes, who could tell them apart? LOVE this kind of writing. The transitions betwen chapters was a major hook and kept me reading late into the night. I look forward to more books from this author. He is GOOD!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. B. Hoyos VINE VOICE on April 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Rob Hale is a plumber living on the Isle of Man, a tiny island located between Great Britain and Ireland; his hobby is racing motorbikes. At an isolated cabin on Arrasey Plantation, he fixes a water boiler; later, he sneaks Lena, a beautiful blonde, out of the cabin for a joyride. When Rob crashes his motorbike, he awakes to learn that Lena has disappeared. The police say she is a product of his distraught imagination; apparently Rob hasn't psychologically recovered from the suicide death of his sister, Laura Hale, another beautiful blonde. When a strong-willed, feisty detective, Rebecca Lewis, helps Rob search for Lena, murderous, muscle-bound thugs begin terrorizing Rob and his family.

First, let me say I love novels (and films) where the hero meets the woman of his dreams. Suddenly, she disappears and everyone around him insists she never existed. This is a creepy, Twilight-Zone beginning for any novel (or film). It is fertile ground for some imaginative plotting. I've read and seen all the explanations; the hero is being manipulated and controlled by everything from drugs to criminals to aliens. In Chris Ewan's excellent cloak-and-dagger thriller, "Safe House," the explanation for Lena's disappearance is very plausible; though the plot may not have supernatural elements, it does have an incredible amount of twists and turns. Several of the characters are leading deceptive lives. Betrayal abounds. There are some truly righteous characters, such as our resident hero, Rob Hale, and some truly evil characters, such as a no-neck, muscular bodyguard who likes to swing a baseball bat at the face of a helpless woman.

One of the major ingredients for a highly successful novel is the setting. "Safe House" has a unique one: the Isle of Man.
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