The Killer (Victor the Assassin #1) ★★★☆☆

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Title: The Killer
Series: Victor the Assassin #1
Authors: Tom Wood
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Action/Adventure
Pages: 436
Words: 140K



Synopsis:

From the author’s website:

His name is a cover

He has no home

And he kills for a living

Victor is a hitman, a man with no past and no surname. His world is one of paranoia and obsessive attention to detail; his morality lies either dead or dying. No one knows what truly motivates the hunter. No one gets close enough to ask.

When a Paris job goes spectacularly wrong, Victor finds himself running for his life across four continents, pursued by a kill squad and investigated by secret services from more than one country. With meticulous style, Victor plans his escape . . . and takes the fight to his would-be killers.

In this first novel in the explosive Victor series, it’s not about right and wrong – only about who lives and who dies.

My Thoughts:

As you can see by this cover, this was originally called The Killer. When I went to the author’s website to track down some synopsis info, I found that it had been toned down to the namby pamby hold your hand while you cry about the beautiful daisies title of The Hunter. I read The Killer and thus I’m sticking with that title. Because I’m not a namby pamby who is going to hold your hand while you cry about the unicorn farts destroying the ozone or some such nonsense.

As you can see, this put me in a fine fettle.

Victor is a loner who goes around killing people for money. So he’s betrayed on one mission (well duh!) and spends the rest of the book trying to track down who did him wrong. Turns out it was the CIA and by the end of the book he’s been hired by the CIA to be their disavowed agent, in return he gets to kill the guy who set him up.

Victor is a blank slate and has as much characterization as Tostito’s Salsa Con Queso.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing for an amoral contract killer. He’s not John Wick though.

Overall, this was decent but it felt a bit overlong and drawn out. The addition of the Broker, who is a woman and ends up getting killed after almost making it through the situation alive, could have been cut or handled in a different manner to slim things down. The story felt like an American who is full of Tostito’s Salsa Con Queso, ie, fat and over stuffed.

I’ll read the next book or two and hope the author puts his writing on a diet.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Red Menace (The Shadow #4) ★★★☆☆

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Title: The Red Menace
Series: The Shadow #4
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 176
Words: 53K



Synopsis:

From Thelivingshadow.fandom.com & me

The Shadow lives by darkness, gliding through the waiting night unseen, a mocking laugh his only calling card. None who have trafficked in crime will ever forget him. The may sneer at the law… but not at The Shadow. Each generation of evil breeds a newer, stronger root, and The Shadow’s latest adversary is no exception: The Red Menace. This brilliant, diabolical political assassin has decided to play both sides of the Revolution in order to steal the ultimate weapon… and invincible power. Time is running out if The Shadow is to stop this crimson-masked megalomaniac from making his insane dreams come true!

Harry Vincent is sent on a mission to watch over a scientist who is developing an areal torpedo that the commies want. The Red Menace sends his own minions as well. The Shadows saves Harry from drowning and takes down the minions but they have already given the torpedo plans to the Red Menace. Meanwhile, the Shadow is dealing with a Russian Prince who appears to be fighting for his life against the Red Menace and his cabal of secret masked commies. The Shadow uses the Prince’s loyal aide to kill the cabal with a bomb. Then the Shadow makes a transatlantic flight, tracks down the Red Menace on a train in Europe and unmasks him, as the Russian Prince! The Shadow steals the torpedo plans back and lets the Prince live to face the torture in store for him for his failure by his commie masters.

My Thoughts:

Boo yah! Damned commies. Getting shot and blown up and scheming. They were perfect in this story and I loved it.

The Red Menace was a great copycat of the Shadow and emulated some of his best traits. In many ways he reminded me of Schwartzvold from Big O (the anime) and how he imitated Roger Smith and Big O with his Big Duo. Subtly different, bad and just not quite good enough. It’s exactly what you want in a badguy who you know is going to be defeated. The Red Menace follows this formula perfectly and it suited him to a T.

I still wonder why the Shadow bothered rescuing Harry Vincent in the first book, or bothers continuing to use him. Harry is brash and has enough common sense to fill a thimble (and no more) and needs continual rescuing. In fact, I’d say his role in this series is more akin to the Lady in Distress (Nell Fenwick from the Dudley Do-Right cartoons) than as an actual aid to the Shadow.

Nell Fenwick, aka, Harry Vincent

I really thought about giving this a halfstar bump up just for how many commies get kaboomed, but that’s a small enough personal pleasure that I didn’t feel quite right about it.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

American Assassin (Mitch Rapp #11) ★★★★☆

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Title: American Assassin
Series: Mitch Rapp #11
Author: Vince Flynn
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 381
Words: 125K



Synopsis:

From the Publishers

Before he was considered a CIA superagent, before he was thought of as a terrorist’s worst nightmare, and before he was both loathed and admired by the politicians on Capitol Hill, Mitch Rapp was a gifted college athlete without a care in the world…and then tragedy struck.

Two decades of cutthroat, partisan politics has left the CIA and the country in an increasingly vulnerable position. Cold War veteran and CIA Operations Director Thomas Stansfield knows he must prepare his people for the next war. The rise of Islamic terrorism is coming, and it needs to be met abroad before it reaches America’s shores. Stansfield directs his protÉgÉe, Irene Kennedy, and his old Cold War colleague, Stan Hurley, to form a new group of clandestine operatives who will work outside the normal chain of command-men who do not exist.

What type of man is willing to kill for his country without putting on a uniform? Kennedy finds him in the wake of the Pan Am Lockerbie terrorist attack. Two-hundred and seventy souls perished that cold December night, and thousands of family and friends were left searching for comfort. Mitch Rapp was one of them, but he was not interested in comfort. He wanted retribution.

Six months of intense training has prepared him to bring the war to the enemy’s doorstep, and he does so with brutal efficiency. Rapp starts in Istanbul, where he assassinates the Turkish arms dealer who sold the explosives used in the Pan Am attack. Rapp then moves onto Hamburg with his team and across Europe, leaving a trail of bodies. All roads lead to Beirut, though, and what Rapp doesn’t know is that the enemy is aware of his existence and has prepared a trap. The hunter is about to become the hunted, and Rapp will need every ounce of skill and cunning if he is to survive the war-ravaged city and its various terrorist factions.

My Thoughts:

You know, I think this was one of the best Mitch Rapp novels so far. His college sweetheart is already dead, his future wife hasn’t entered the picture yet and we get to see the forging of an unparalleled weapon.

THIS is what I wanted from the get-go. A man unfettered by human connection, touched by tragedy but with an uncorrupted moral compass. A weapon with a conscience, as it were. If Mitch has to have a companion, he needs someone compatible. He’s a Desert Eagle 357 Magnum. His dead wife was a glass of whiskey. Those 2 things aren’t inherently compatible. What Mitch’s gun needs is either a matching gun or a security case where it can rest until needed. I don’t think that’s going to happen though.

Being a prequel, we know that Mitch isn’t going to fail and as such some of the tension is gone but the action keeps up the tempo and this is a thrill a minute. I also wondered if it would be a good thing to start the series here, but I am in the camp of reading a series in which the author wrote it and despite how good I think this book is, nothing about it changed my thoughts on the reading order.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Shadow Laughs (The Shadow #3) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Shadow Laughs
Series: The Shadow #3
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 156
Words: 47K



Synopsis:

A duel with Evil

When an innocent man is murdered under strange circumstances and a crack police detective is lured to his death, The Shadow sees the signs of a vicious plot. He uncovers a ruthless gang of counterfeiters, led by the most powerful and diabolical man in New York’s underworld.

Harry Vincent is sent in to investigate, the Shadow gets shot and eventually Eeeeeeevil is brought to justice.

My Thoughts:

Yeah, I liked this. I liked the brevity of the story. But it didn’t feel short. It felt just right. Thrills and chills and action and guns, bad bad guys, doofus good guy minions and a brilliant leader. It’s kind of a mix and match hodgepodge of elements that will work together no matter what order you put them in.

These are reminding me of Louis L’amour and his westerns (these obviously came first but I didn’t read them first). And if you look at the numbers, you can see that this write by numbers approach can work and work well. Lamour was writing his stories up until he died and Grant churned out over 300 stories about the Shadow. It’s pulp and it’s good.

It’s not going to work for everyone but if you’ve felt the need of a good old fashioned action story without a moral message telling you what you should be thinking/doing, then at least give the Shadow stories a try. If you don’t like the first couple, then it’ll be a safe bet the Shadow isn’t for you and you’ll know it. But you won’t know unless you try.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pursuit of Honor (Mitch Rapp #10) ★★★✬☆

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Title: Pursuit of Honor
Series: Mitch Rapp #10
Author: Vince Flynn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 402
Words: 129.5K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

The book opens days after Muslim extremists have blown up a power lunch restaurant filled with members of Congress and staffers. After that, a second squad attacks the National Counter Terrorist Center killing dozens more until Mitch Rapp and his partner Mike Nash send the bad guys off to paradise. With nearly 200 dead, the nation is in no mood to negotiate with the Islamic extremists. The President has given Rapp a green light to be the judge, jury and executioner. The sharp edge of the CIA’s sword has been let loose with few strings attached. The story takes place over the following week.

Rapp is on the trail of a liberal lawyer inspector general of the CIA who has been giving out information that some consider to aid the enemy. Meanwhile, three of the cell that helped carry out the DC attack are hiding out in rural Iowa, waiting for the heat to die down. Hakim is the mastermind who knows about the US after living here for a long time while Karim is the hotheaded soldier who wants a legacy as The Lion of al Qaeda. One day, a dad and son walk up to their farmhouse asking for permission to hunt nearby. Hakim gave them his permission because he knows that’s all they want, but Karim is convinced they are undercover police and kills them both. Now they are on the run, trying to stay a step ahead of the police. Neither trusts the other and they ended up splitting. Hakim to Nassau to get money and hide somewhere while Karim and Ahmed, their loyal servant went to Washington to wreak more havoc.

After the President award a medal to Nash (set up by Mitch for Nash to give Nash a better life), Karim kidnapped Nash’s daughter while Nash and his wife have dinner in a restaurant. Karim and Ahmed brought Nash’s daughter to the Lincoln Memorial and decided to make a deal with Nash. At the exchange point, Mitch successfully killed Karim.

My Thoughts:

Once again, the author gets a family involved and I didn’t know how it was going to turn out until it was all over with. It certainly adds a lot dramatic tension but at the same time I don’t like it. Children being in danger, in one form or another, is not something I want in my entertainment.

This alternates between Mitch Rapp’s point of view of the story and the terrorists who survived the attack from the last book, Extreme Measures. The terrorists are a study in contrasts and there is as much conflict between them as there is between them all and Rapp. It made for an alphabet soup of tension and story telling and I rather enjoyed it.

Director Kennedy (head of the CIA) continues to play a very small part and I have to admit I miss her not having as much to do with the story as in the earlier books. She’s smart as a whip and I always enjoyed reading about her as she maneuvered the politics of whatever situation was going on while Rapp dealt with the physical side of things.

Taking a little break and limiting myself to 3 Mitch Rapp books at a time seems to be the right move.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Eyes of the Shadow (The Shadow #2) ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPresss & Blogspot by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Eyes of the Shadow
Series: The Shadow #2
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 171
Words: 51.5K



Synopsis:

From Thelivingshadow.fandom.com & me

MARKED TO DIE

Six prominent men were expecting a share in a glittering fortune. But, one by one, they were being brutally murdered. Until the Shadow discovered the plan—a plan so fiendish that only the twisted mind of a monster could have conceived it. The Shadow assumes the identity of Lamont Cranston to investigate the serial murders and stalwart Harry Vincent gets to play camper and act as bait. Justice is committed, Shadowstyle!

My Thoughts:

Another enjoyable entry in the Shadow series. I’ve got a bunch of omnibuses (omnibie?) of Shadow stories that come in sets of 5, so I’m guessing I’ll read a quintet each rotation and then take a couple of months off before adding another quintet back in. I can see myself easily burning out on these and I’d really rather take a few extra steps to prevent that as I am enjoying them.

These are beyond a shadow (ha, aren’t I clever?) of a doubt “pulp”. So if you know you don’t like pulp stories, then you can safely assume The Shadow isn’t going to work for you. If you know that you DO like pulp, you can’t automagically assume this will work for you, because this is as different from Conan or John Carter as you can get and yet both of those are pulp too. But chances are still better than even. If you like pulp and you like the 1920’s era and double pistols are your thing, then I’d say it’s a match made in heaven.

The Shadow has some sort of power to blend into “shadows” but it isn’t speculated upon or dwelt upon at all. Is it supernatural, is it a mutant power or is it just him being really, really, really good at hiding and disguises? Personally, my vote is that he drank a shot of bad russian vodka and it gave him superpowers. The other thing is that Lamont Cranston, a rich playboy that Bruce Wayne was modeled on, appears to be the Shadow’s alter-ego. But I’ve read enough stuff by Riders of Skaith to know that even that simple deduction isn’t so simple and weirdness is going to abound there too. Basically, I don’t try to figure anything out.

Bad guys do bad things. The Shadow investigates one way or another, his agents (his “eyes”) act on his behalf and there’s a lot of weird laughing going on in the shadows. Oh yeah, and the badguys get what’s coming to them. Or their henchmen do anyway. A really good badguy manages to get away.

I’ve been looking at various covers and man, this one rocks! I couldn’t find a really big version of it, but this was as big as I could find. Two-pistol’ing it baby!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Living Shadow ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: The Living Shadow
Series: The Shadow #1
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 224
Words: 67K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

Harry Vincent, saved from suicide by The Shadow, is recruited to watch Scanlon, courier for Wang Foo, the Chinatown mastermind. Cronin murders Scanlon, but fails to find the metal Chinese disk Scanlon uses as an identifier. Vincent finds the disk, poses as the courier, is exposed, captured, tortured, and saved by The Shadow. Millionaire Geoffrey Laidlow is killed for his hidden jewels; the rest of the story involves searching for Laidlow’s killer, and the killer searching for the jewels, to be fenced with the Chinatown mastermind. In the end, the criminal mastermind’s lawyer Ezekiel Bingham, is free and unpunished. Diamond Bert Farwell, exposed as Wang Foo, goes to jail.

My Thoughts:

Riders of Skaith started reviewing the The Shadow books last year. I’m glad I jumped on the bandwagon as I rather enjoyed this novel. But everything Riders says about Harry Vincent is totally true, sigh.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Extreme Measures ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Extreme Measures
Series: Mitch Rapp #9
Author: Vince Flynn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 412
Words: 132K



Synopsis:

From Vinceflynn.com

Now, Rapp and his protege, Mike Nash, may have met their match. The CIA has detected and intercepted two terrorist cells, but a third is feared to be on the loose. Led by a dangerous mastermind obsessed with becoming the leader of al-Qaeda, this determined and terrifying group is about to descend on America.

Rapp needs the best on this assignment, and Nash, who has served his government honorably for sixteen years first as an officer in the Marine Corps and then as an operative in an elite counterterrorism team run by Rapp is his choice.

Together, they have made careers out of meeting violence with extreme violence and have never wavered in the fight against the jihadists and their culture of death.

Both have fought the war on terrorism in secret without accolades or acknowledgment of their personal sacrifices.

Both have been forced to lie to virtually every single person they care about, and both have soldiered on with the knowledge that their hard work and lethal tactics have saved thousands of lives.

But the political winds have changed in America, and certain leaders on Capitol Hill are pushing to have men like Rapp and Nash put back on a short leash. And then one spring afternoon in Washington, DC, everything changes.

My Thoughts:

This was a good thriller. My only real gripe is the ending. The politician who had been doing her hardest to get Rapp destroyed has a complete change of heart when the bombs go off and suddenly she’s all Super Patriot. It was bogus. People like her WANT this country destroyed, which is what makes them so insidious. It also makes them impervious to logic and all rational thought. Sadly, there is only one way to deal with people like that and it almost never turns out well. So that was my gripe.

Rapp takes front and center in this book. There have been times when Irene Kennedy, the director of the CIA plays as big a part but this time she is barely mentioned and pretty much lets Rapp loose. For the record, I am completely FOR enhanced interrogation methods. They work, despite what the media may trumpet. They are liars, pure and simple.

(Man, I keep going off about real world politics here, sorry about that)

Rapp isn’t just a meat head with a steady gun hand. He’s a smart and capable operator and the badguys and people who oppose him would do well to remember that. Rapp shows his brains through the whole book and it was great to see him outmaneuver almost everyone. There is one other guy, Mike Nash, who is similar to Rapp, but Nash has a wife and several kids. Part of the story centers around him and the stresses this creates. I was afraid the terrorists were going to kill his family much like Rapp’s family were killed earlier. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen. But up until the leader of the islamic jihadists was killed, I just couldn’t tell if the author was going to go there or not.

I had taken a break from Rapp last year and started up again in January. I am finding that 3 books is about the right amount for me. So after this book I’ll be taking another break, reading something else and then coming back to Rapp for another 3 books. Balancing my reading is getting more and more complicated but considering that I haven’t had a reading slump in over 6 or 7 years now, well, that means it is working. * pounds fist * Yeah, I am THAT good.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Sharpe’s Prey ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Sharpe’s Prey
Series: Sharpe #5
Authors: Bernard Cornwell
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 246
Words: 103K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia.org

The year is 1807, and Richard Sharpe is at a very low point in his life. His beloved aristocratic lover, Lady Grace Hale, has died in childbirth, along with their newborn son. Her family’s lawyers then took all of Sharpe’s wealth (loot he obtained fighting in India), claiming it was Grace’s and that it now reverts to her family. Destitute and relegated to the menial job of quartermaster, Sharpe is on the streets of London, contemplating leaving the army.

First though, he revisits the foundling home where he was raised to get his revenge. He robs and kills Jem Hocking, his childhood tormentor.

Then a former commanding officer, Major General David Baird, finds him in a pub. Captain John Lavisser was assigned a bodyguard for a secret mission to Copenhagen, but the bodyguard was killed, supposedly by a common footpad, and a replacement is needed immediately. Baird persuades Sharpe to take the job. Lavisser does not want a bodyguard since he already has a huge servant named Barker, but orders are orders. Lord Pumphrey of the Foreign Office gives Sharpe a contact in case he runs into trouble.

Denmark is neutral, but has a powerful fleet. Napoleon wants to replace the ships France lost at the Battle of Trafalgar, and Britain is equally determined to see to it that does not happen. Lavisser’s task is to bribe the Danish crown prince to hand over the fleet for safekeeping. (Lavisser’s grandfather is the prince’s chamberlain, and they are also related by marriage.) If that fails, the British will have to seize the ships by force.

When they go ashore in Denmark, Sharpe narrowly escapes being killed by Barker. He walks to Copenhagen and goes to see Ole Skovgaard, the emergency contact. Skovgaard turns out to be the main spy for Britain in Denmark. Meanwhile, Lavisser defects to the Danes and “confesses” that the British have sent an assassin to kill the crown prince. Skovgaard reads this lie in the newspaper and locks Sharpe in a room to await Lavisser. Sharpe escapes just in time. Lavisser turns out to be in the employ of the French; he and his men torture Skovgaard for the names of his contacts throughout Europe. Sharpe manages to kill some of Lavisser’s henchmen and drive the rest off. During his stay at Skovgaard’s house, he and Skovgaard’s beautiful widowed daughter, Astrid, become attracted to each other. They eventually sleep together, and Sharpe contemplates settling down in Copenhagen with her.

When the British besiege Copenhagen, Sharpe joins them. The Danes refuse to surrender their fleet, so the British bombard the city. Sharpe, by now knowing the general layout of Copenhagen, guides a small force to the Danish ships, which have been prepared for burning in case the British break in. The men hide aboard the ships and safeguard them against burning. Meanwhile, Sharpe goes to Skovgaard’s, only to find he has been captured and tortured again by Lavisser, who obtains the names of the British spies. Sharpe rescues Skovgaard, kills Lavisser and Barker, and gets the list of names. The city surrenders, and the Danish fleet is captured intact.

Skovgaard will no longer work for the British after what they have done to his city. He also orders Astrid to break up with Sharpe, which she does. Lord Pumphrey has Sharpe sent back to England, as he does not want the rifleman to learn that he must have the Skovgaards killed; they know too much.

My Thoughts:

My issues with Sharpe and his behavior continue and as such I think I’m going to call it quits. I also really disliked that Cornwell, the author, kills off a woman and child to propel Sharpe on his continued path of anti-hero. Just like I discussed last month in the “Project X – V” post, villains are bad, and anti-heroes are not much better in my eyes.

So while the writing is great, the over all story is engaging and very interesting and I like reading these adventures, the in your face immorality of Sharpe and Cornwell’s philosophy of anti-hero’ness are too much to overcome.

If neither of those things bother you, then I would recommend trying out this series if you want some action packed historical fiction. If you would like a more positive set of reviews, Jenn at Eternal Bookcase has been reviewing the Sharpe books as well.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Protect and Defend ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Protect and Defend
Series: Mitch Rapp #8
Author: Vince Flynn
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 336
Words: 105.5K



Synopsis:

From Vinceflynn.com

In Protect and Defend, the action begins in the heart of Iran, where billions of dollars are being spent on the development of a nuclear program. No longer willing to wait for the international community to stop its neighboring enemy, Israel launches one of the most creative and daring espionage operations ever conceived. The attack leaves a radioactive tomb and environmental disaster in the middle of Iran s second largest city. An outraged Iranian government publicly blames both Israel and the United States for the attack and demands retribution. Privately, Iran s bombastic president wants much more. He wants America and Israel to pay for their aggression with blood.

Enter Mitch Rapp, America s top counterterrorism operative. Used to employing deception, Rapp sees an opportunity where others see only Iranian reprisals that could leave thousands of Americans dead. Rapp convinces President Josh Alexander to sign off on a risky operation that will further embarrass the Iranian government and push their country to the brink of revolution. As part of the plan, CIA director Irene Kennedy is dispatched to the region for a clandestine meeting with Azad Ashani, her Iranian counterpart.

But Rapp isn’t the only one hatching plans. Iranian President Amatullah, has recruited Hezbollah master terrorist Imad Mukhtar to do his dirty work. For decades Mukhtar has acted as a surrogate for Iran, blazing a trail of death and destruction across the Middle East and beyond. When Kennedy s meeting with Ashani goes disastrously wrong, Rapp and Mukhtar are set on a collision course that threatens to engulf the entire region in war. With the clock ticking, Rapp is given twenty-four hours, no questions asked, to do whatever it takes to stop Mukhtar, and avert an unthinkable catastrophe.

My Thoughts:

Now this was a return to form and expectations. Mitch is set loose on terrorists who have kidnapped Irene Saddler, the head of the CIA. The background is that the Israeli’s have destroyed Iran’s “secret” nuclear facility using an infiltrator and in retaliation the leaders of Iran not only kidnap Irene but also shoot one of their ships and blame it on America.

It’s been 2 years since Mitch’s wife was killed and while he’s holding on, he’s not doing well. He’s at the point of being a mad dog but not one that’s crazy, if that makes sense. He simply doesn’t care anymore. But Irene’s kidnapping makes it personal as she’s probably the person closest to him that he hasn’t completely pushed away.

The action side of things is great. When Irene is kidnapped by jihadi thugs, I was concerned that Flynn might over describe things. Thankfully, he keeps it within bounds of decency while still showing what happens to her. There was no rape, which I have to admit I gave a sigh of relief for. That kind of thing in fiction can be a deal breaker for me. When Mitch gets going he was like a whirlwind. It was exhausting just following along but oh so exciting too!

On the political side, it was ok. A new president had been elected in the previous book and he was a democrat, just like in the previous books. I didn’t know how Flynn was going to handle him. Well, he’s a bloody hawk and pretty much tells Mitch to do whatever is necessary. He showed more backbone than most of the republicans today in real life. So I don’t expect to have any problems, just like I didn’t with previous books and the politics.

We’ll have to see if Mitch falls apart in future books or if Flynn writes him into getting some help. Personally, I’d like to see him get some help. On the other hand, if he goes nutso, I wouldn’t mind him nuking Iran, Afghanistan or even Belgium. You know, for variety’s sake 😉 What I am concerned about is either Mitch turning into a “one book, one girl” kind of man like Mack Bolan the Executioner or even worse, getting involved long term with another woman and getting her killed. I almost quit when Anna died in book 6 and I’ll quit for sure if happens in future books.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.