riske_simon_bk_once riske_simon_bk_crown riske_simon_bk_palace riske_simon_bk_take
Full Name: Simon Riske
Nationality: British
Organization: None
Occupation Freelance Agent

Creator: Christopher Reich
Time Span: 2018 - 2022


Simon Riske is a freelance agent.

He has been at times called an industrial spy but he does do the occasional (okay, more than occasion) job for MI5 and MI6 so his contacts in the intelligence community of Europe is impressive.

When we meet him, he is an operative. He was not one for quite a while, having had a successful career going as a crook.

We are told in a blurb for the first recorded adventure that it was around Monaco that Riske "was once a thrill-seeking thief himself, robbing armored trucks and leading police on dangerous car chases across the Côte d'Azur, until he was double-crossed, served his time, and graduated as an investment genius from the Sorbonne."

We also learn that he "lives a mostly quiet life above his auto garage in central London. He is hired to perform the odd job for a bank, an insurance company, or the British Secret Service, when he isn't expertly stealing a million-dollar watch off the wrist of a crooked Russian oligarch." There is also a statement that "Simon has maintained his quiet life by avoiding big, messy jobs" though considering the adventures we follow him on, that avoidance is questionable.

The comment that I enjoyed most about Riske, prior to the joy of actually reading the stories about him, was that "Riske is a man who solves problems, the bigger and 'riskier' the better. From the baccarat tables of Europe's finest casinos to the superyachts moored in Monaco's Port Hercule to a secluded chalet deep in the Swiss Alps, Riske will do what he does best: get in over his head, throw himself into danger, and find a way to outthink and outmaneuver villains of every stripe."

Riske is described early on as "a compact man, an American, markedly fit in a bespoke navy suit...His hair was dark and thick, receding violently at the temples, and cut to the nub with a number two razor. He had his father's dark complexion and brooding good looks and his mother's beryl-green eyes. People mistook him for a European - Italian, Slavic, something Mediterranean. His nose was too bold, too chiseled. His chin, too strong. Take off the suit, add a day's stubble, and he'd fit in hooking bales of Egyptian cotton across a dock in Naples."

His day job is that of repairing and restoring super-expensive automobiles. If you bang up your Lamborghini or Ferrari, his shop is a good place to take it. It will cost you but the results will be worth it. He really does enjoy getting his hands dirty by making these high-performance vehicles clean again.

But nothing excites him like the challenge of being asked to help when Person A has something very valuable stolen by Person B and needs it back without anyone learning of the theft. Sometimes it is MI5/6 upset about someone absconding with some secret papers. Sometimes it is a very rich and powerful corporate executive who learns that an underling has made off with a hush-hush ledger. The greater the challenge, the more Riske relishes the, well, risk.

And because he was, in his early adult years a daring hood who went to prison without grassing on his mates, he has a fair number of valuable contacts in the underworld. Some of them owe him a favor or two. Some would like to hand him a shiv the wrong way. All of them are valuable one way or another.

Then there was the decade or so he spent in the high finance world of hedge funds and deal making which has left him with a ton of wealthy and wanna-be-wealthy contacts who know that helping him with an answer here and suggestion there will pay off in the long run.

And because his current business has him fixing up the expensive playthings of the rich and famous, lots of doors get open for him from that. Of course, considering his distance criminal past, if a door is not opened willingly, he knows how to jimmy a window when called for.


Number of Books:4
First Appearance:2018
Last Appearance:2022

1 The Take The Take
Written by Christopher Reich
Copyright: 2018

"A gangster by the name of Tino Coluzzi has orchestrated the greatest street heist in the history of Paris: a visiting Saudi prince had his pockets lightened of millions in cash, and something else. Hidden within a stolen briefcase is a secret letter that could upend the balance of power in the Western world. The Russians have already killed in an attempt to get it back by the time the CIA comes knocking at Simon's door.
Coluzzi was once Riske's brother-in-arms, but their criminal alliance ended with Riske in prison, having narrowly avoided a hit Coluzzi ordered. Now, years later, it is thief against thief, and hot on their trail are a dangerous Parisian cop, a murderous Russian femme fatale, her equally unhinged boss, and perhaps the CIA itself."
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2 Crown Jewel Crown Jewel
Written by Christopher Reich
Copyright: 2019

"Monte Carlo's lavish casinos have become the target of a sophisticated and brutal team of professional gamblers; a casino dealer has been beaten to death; a German heiress's son has been kidnapped.
From the baccarat tables of Europe's finest casinos to the superyachts moored in Monaco's Port Hercule to a secluded chalet deep in the Swiss Alps, Riske will do what he does best: get in over his head, throw himself into danger, and find a way to outthink and outmaneuver villains of every stripe."
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3 The Palace The Palace
Written by Christopher Reich
Copyright: 2020

"Life is good for Rafael de Bourbon. The forty-year-old Spaniard recently married to a wealthy English beauty, and is days away from opening a luxury boutique hotel off the southern coast of Thailand. But when the Royal Thai Police storm the hotel and arrest him for blackmail and extortion, "Rafa" is thrown into Bangkok's most notorious jail. In desperation, he reaches out to the one man who can prove his innocence". Simon Riske.
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4 Once A Thief Once A Thief
Written by Christopher Reich
Copyright: 2022

"Simon Riske sits in sun-dappled Napa Valley, toasting the record hundred-million-dollar sale of a rare 1963 Ferrari which he restored himself. The buyer, a sophisticated French woman, Sylvie Bettencourt, has purchased the car for an unnamed client whose anonymity she will guard at all costs. Riske enjoys her company and the flowing champagne until Sylvie’s formidable Russian bodyguard storms in, claiming the vehicle is a fake. Riske is given an ultimatum. Prove the car is the real thing…or else. 
Meanwhile, in Lugano, Switzerland, Carl Bildt, banker to the rich and nefarious, is killed by a powerful car bomb, moments before he can deliver evidence to the authorities and disappear into witness protection. His beautiful and headstrong daughter, Anna, rushes to Switzerland to investigate her father’s violent death."
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I know me and I would have loved this series pretty much regardless of who wrote it because the concept of the character of Simon Riske is so much fun.

To have the stories crafted by a genius like Christopher Reich, a man who I have super appreciated since I came across his first stand-alone book, Numbered Account, at a library sale and thought it looked interesting (I was hooked from the opening page).

Having an author have more than one series is not unusual. There are over 200 authors in this compendium with more than one series to their credit. To have two series that have earned a A or higher grade by me is, however, rare. This exceptional author has done so.


My Grade: A


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