Category Archives: Thrillers

Review: Out of Her Mind – Sawyer Brooks #2 (T. R. Ragan)

This is the second book to feature Sawyer Brooks, following Don’t Make a Sound, which I have not read. While I found this did not completely torpedo my ability to follow this second book without having read the first, I think it would have been quite helpful to have read that first book, especially to understand Sawyer’s personal issues and the Black Wig ladies. It was a bit confusing to suddenly jump into the head of one of the latter group.

Here, we have Sawyer looking into the disappearance of a young girl after her music lesson at the home of her piano teacher. While the authorities are treating it as a generic disappearance, Sawyer digs around and finds connections to other disappearances. When the bones of a small child are unearthed, the stake get even higher, and it’s then a race against time for Sawyer to find the missing girl, with the help of her editor and sister.

I filed this under thriller instead of mystery, because there is no mystery here: we know who took the girl, because the perpetrator gets their own turn in the spotlight, with several chapters from their viewpoint. The only mystery involved here is whether Sawyer and crew will find the girl before she, too, winds up in a shallow grave.

When the narrative suddenly broke into the viewpoint of one of the Black Wigs women, it was a little jarring and a tad confusing. Again, this may be due to me not having read the first book. We also get several scenes of what those women are doing to men who have harmed them. It wasn’t until the third time that I realized one of the women was Sawyer’s other sister (not the one helping her find the missing girl).

The story was enjoyable enough – there isn’t anything hidden from the reader, so what Sawyer knows, we know, and that’s a plus for me, as I don’t like withheld evidence that prevents readers from connecting the dots to find the ad guy (or in this case, potentially find the missing girl).

I gave this 3.5 stars out of five, and rounded it up to 4, as there were no glaring plot holes. Although there were some scenes that didn’t quite ring true, those involved the Black Wig crew and not the main character.

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the review copy.

Review: The Good Killer (Harry Dolan)

I liked the idea – a couple, creating new lives under new names to escape a past we don’t immediately know about. The execution of it, though, left me feeling a bit meh.

Sean and Molly are living in Houston under new names, years after ripping off an art dealer in a heist in which Sean’s friend Cole, was killed. The art dealer wants revenge and the stolen materials back, and the dead man’s father (who seems to be some kind of low level gangster) just wants revenge.

One day, when Sean is at a mall – which the author tells us is the largest in Texas, or something or other – when an obsessed man grabs a woman from the store in which she works and starts shooting other shoppers. Sean walks up to him and calmly executes him with one shot each to the chest and head. After helping a couple of the injured people, he leaves. Security footage, though, gets out into the world, and now the people who want their pound of flesh know where he is.

While they make their way to Houston, Sean bugs out, heading to Montana to pick up Molly, who has gone there on a retreat. Along the way, we get some Legend of Billy Jean type narrative, with an auto repair shop owner and a local Sheriff recognizing Sean from the mall video, but not doing anything about him and allowing him to go on his way.

Jimmy,the dead man’s father, and his sidekick make it to Montana before Sean, and try to kidnap Molly in order to force Sean’s hand. But they miss, and Molly hops into Sean’s car, as he has arrived just in the nick of time. Afterward, Jimmy tells his sidekick all about what happened to Cole, so the readers….I mean, so his sidekick will know why he wants to find and kill Sean.

It goes on like this for awhile, but not before we collect a lot of other characters along the way. Events converge on a single location and there is the requisite people dying at the end and another transformation.

The narrative was not particularly compelling and was also supremely annoying. First, it seems everyone and their brother got some narrative time, sometimes in the middle of someone else’s narrative (something that was done for no good reason I could see; the second character’s piece could just as easily been said after the one it broke into). Second, the writing style was full of short, declarative sentences. Lots of them. In both dialogue and narrative. Sentence fragments, too. Many of them. Third, we got a lot of step by steps of what the characters were doing. Like this:

“His hiking boots are in the trunk. He puts them on and locks the car. He sets out for one of the hiking trails, but after only a few paces he turns back.

There’s a Glock nine millimeter in the glove compartment with a shoulder rig to hold it. He sits in the passenger seat and straps it on. He reaches into the backseat for his gray windbreaker. He puts it on to cover the gun.”

This sort of thing is all over the place.

Finally, it’s in present tense, of which I’m not really a fan.

It’s serviceable, and a fast enough read. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it, either.

Three stars out of five.

Thanks to Grove Atlantic/Mysterious Press and NetGalley for the review copy.

Review: Time to Hunt – Pierce Hunt #3 (Simon Gervais)

Time to Hunt is the third book in a series, and I have not read the first two. While there may be information about Pierce Hunt in the first two, I’m afraid I’ll never know.

This book opens with what is to me a laughable action: an operative in Turkey, awakening suddenly in a bed, “diving” for a pistol that is under the other pillow on the bed. A team of black-clothed commandos bursts in and takes him away. He’s tortured a few chapters later and at the end of that, it seems he is dying/has died.

Meanwhile, a CIA officer named Triggs is with her son, tracking down Pierce Hunt in the Bahamas. She was told not to go to Turkey to hunt down Jorge Ramirez (who apparently is someone they’ve been hunting in the first two books), so in the spirit of renegade officers everywhere, she sends someone else.thus, the dude bed diving. Her son Max is her second in command, and they talk about sending the badass Hunt to Turkey with another operative to get the bed diving guy back.

Their vehicles are attacked, and Max sends his mother down the hill behind them after she’s been shot. As she makes a break for it, their vehicle is hit with an RPG and explodes, and her son with it, apparently.

I’ll stop there for spoiler reasons, in the event you want to read this.

This is one of those very rare instances that a book is a DNF for me. At 15% (according to the progress meter on my Fire), we find out who the bad guy is. At 18%, he has a very lengthy internal monologue, letting us know all about his motivation and his plans.

How can you write a thriller when one of the pieces that should be thrilling but that is not present here is the hunt for the bad guy, sniffing them out, flushing them from cover out into the open so the denouement is satisfying? I know the ultimate bad guy is Ramirez, but short of capturing/killing him, someone else has to take his place in each book, and if I’m told who it is and why he’s doing things, it really blunts the part of my mind that cares about what happens, since it’s likely that person will be caught/killed.

Sadly, I cannot recommend this. As always, your mileage may vary.

Two stars out of five.

Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the review copy.

Review: Payback (Lorenzo Carcaterra)

Payback begins with Detective Eddie Kenwood coercing a murder confession out of a young black man.

We then cut to Tommy “Tank” Rizzo watching his nephew Chris shoot hoops, and a tiny infodump about how Tank and his partner Frank “Pearl” Monroe were shot off the job and how Chris came to live with Tank – more specifically, how Tank’s brother and sister in law (Chris’ parents) were killed in an auto accident.

This is about the extent of how character development goes throughout the book. As this is book two in the series, perhaps we get to know the characters better in book one. Alas, I’ve not read it.

Tank and Pearl, ex-cops that they are, get thrown cases by the Chief of Detectives from time to time when the official NYPD detectives are overloaded. In this book, however, the focus is on determining if Tank’s brother – as his nephew insists – was murdered in that car accident, versus it being a real accident, and to find out is the company is laundering money for bad guys locally and from around the world. The secondary focus is on Tank and Pearl collecting evidence about Eddie Kenwood and more specifically, getting the young man who confessed at the beginning of the book out of prison.

Tank and Pearl run an investigative service, but there isn’t a ton of investigating of the main case done on the page – probably because it’s accounting, and pulling up spreadsheets and putting numbers all over the page would slow things down, as it’s difficult to put tension into that.

The better parts of the book are when Tank and Pearl actually go back into the field to get informants and cons to talk about Kenwood so they can build a case. Those parts are gritty and seem much more realistic (and are certainly much more interesting) than the primary case.

There are a number of murders, some tough guy talks by fixers from the accounting firm, a few scenes with Tank and his girlfriend, who is the daughter of a local mob boss with whom Tank is friendly, and who Tank brings in to help with the accounting firm parts, and an entirely unbelievable talk with the DA about blanket immunity for a group of Romanians up to and including murder if they have to be brought in to the accounting firm case.

Minus the group talks about the accounting firm, the book is a quick read, and fans of the genre will forgive the things like the DA’s immunity agreement, because those things make the story more interesting. Putting Tank’s brother’s death to rest by finding answers, but I think the two cases in this book would have been fine in a book devoted just to each.

Overall, a three star out of five read for me. Your mileage may vary.

Thanks to Random House/Ballantine and NetGalley for the review copy.

Review: One True Patriot (Sean Parnell)

One True Patriot opens with a terrific chapter: Eric Steele, an Alpha in the so-super-secret-it-doesn’t-exist Program has done a HAHO (high altitude, high opening) parachute into Syria to off some terrorist baddies.

This is the third book in a series, and in this one, someone is killing off Alphas, and taking an ear off the corpse as some kind of souvenir. There are things I have questions about in this book.

First, this Program of alpha killers is headquartered in the White House. Although they have to move in this book, situating this at the White House seems rather odd, especially when it appears they are near the West Wing. I’m not sue I’m buying this.

Like any other book in this genre, they apparently have access to passports, credit cars, documents, and cash, plus someone on the other end of wherever they go (like Paris) to provide them with weapons. This is fine – I expect it in the genre.

What I don’t expect is when SpecOps people get themselves killed because they forget, for some reason, that they are SpecOps with enemies everywhere. The first Alpha killed, sure. They didn’t know anyone was specifically hunting them, or even that they existed, after all. But the second kill – and the lone female Alpha -has let her guard down because she received a text message that the assassin was dead. I’d think it would have been a good idea to confirm it with HQ, but alas for her, she did not. It also takes them a tad too long to figure out that there’s no way the assassin could know how many Alphas there are without some inside information.

The Program, having been hit by Russian hackers and this mysterious assassin, pulls everyone in and basically closes up shop. Steele, of course, charges off to investigate and make things right.

There’s a ton of action and killing in the book, no worries about that. From the US to France, Germany, and Russia itself (in a prison, no less) and back again to the US to thwart an attack on political leaders, this book has it all.

If you’re a fan of the genre, definitely read it. Even if you’re not a big fan of the genre and you’re casting about for something to read, you could do a lot worse.

Three stars out of five.

Thanks to HarperCollins/William Morrow and NetGalley for the review copy.

Review: Line of Sight (James Queally)

Line of Sight open with Russ Avery – former reporter, now PI – helping a dirty cop clean up a mess he’s made. So we know, at least, that Avery can cross a moral line.

Avery is subsequently offered a job by Key, a Black activist and friend, to look into the death of Kevin Mathis. Mathis’ death was determined to be just another drug-related shooting in a town that never lacks them. The twist on this is that Mathis was in possession of a video that appears to show a police officer shooting a friend of his. Mathis’ father, Austin, is convinced his son was also killed by a cop.

Avery, knowing that the release of that video would blow up, requests that they give him a little time to start asking around, and not release the video. The problem for Avery: if he starts asking questions about an officer-involved shooting, his steady stream of “fixing” for cops is going to dry up fairly quickly.

He goes on anyway, his reporter brain fully engaged. Along the way we meet retired cops, active cops, and – thankfully – the really dirty cop who appears in the video. I say thankfully, because sometimes, in books like this, the bad guy doesn’t show up until a few pages from the end of the book, and it’s impossible to even make an in informed guess of whodunnit.

There’s a decent amount of action, and there are protests not unlike current event here in the US as I type this, which bring to mind the Black Live Matter protests, when Key and Mathis’ father release the video to the press. Russ manages to get himself beat up, arrested, and given a very stern talking to by his ex-girlfriend, who is still employed at the paper from which he was fired.

Overall, I’m giving it four out of five stars. The opening is a little slow, but once things get moving, we are along for the ride as Avery pokes his nose into places the people in charge don’t want him to go.

Thanks to NetGalley and Polis Books for the reading copy.

Under Pressure – Robert Pobi – review

Under Pressure is the second book to feature Lucas Page, but the first I’ve read.

The opening is at the Guggeheim, where a ton of very wealthy people are present at a party for a high-tech environmental cleaning company (think fracking sites, and the like), with a multibillion dollar IPO looming. All seems rather genteel until a thermobaric bomb ignites, vaporizing the people and the art, leaving the building itself relatively intact.

Brett Kehoe, Special Agent In Charge/Manhattan, faced with the daunting task of sorting out 700+ dead and solving the mystery of why anyone would want to kill them, calls on ex-FBI agent, and current instructor at Columbia, Lucas Page to assist. Page is reluctant, but finally agrees, and we are whisked off to an almost nonstop ride of bombings, close calls, and mysteries that deepen as more people die.

At the heart of the mystery seems to be the Hockney brothers, William and Seth, and their sprawling megacorp. Are the bombings simply a statement against their companies, or is something more personal the core of it? While I have some issues with overly-complex conspiracies, and the habit, often, of main characters heading out into danger on their own, without telling anyone, to see if their reasoning/guess is correct about the bad guy, overall this was not a book killer.

Page, who lost a leg, arm, and eye in something he calls the Event, has a genius-level ability to instantly calculate areas, distances, see connections where others see none, and apparently possesses an eidetic memory. It reminded me quite a bit of the TV series Numb3rs. He is not terribly patient with people he views as stupid, is cranky a lot of times, and can be bitingly sarcastic. I liked him immensely.

Teasing out the mystery becomes more and more dangerous the closer Page gets to the truth, and in the end becomes, for him, a calculation of odds. To say more would give away too much. I will say this, though: be aware of the handcuffs. Chekov’s pistol has never been more apt.

Solid four stars.

Note: while there is enough backstory to know what has come before, I would suggest that if you intend to read the first book (City of Windows), you do that first before reading this. There’s a spoiler in this book for the last – it’s a blink and you miss it thing, but it’s there.

Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur for the reading copy.

The Last Agent

The Last Agent reunites us with Charles Jenkins, acquitted of espionage in the previous book The Eighth Sister, who has put the events of that book behind him and rebuilt his life. Or so he thinks.

A CIA agent shows up on his doorstep – again. After being rebuffed at Jenkins’ house, the agent corrals him at the local diner and tells him the agency needs him once more. For real, this time. They believe that Paulina Ponomayova, who saved Jenkins’ life in The Eighth Sister by giving her own, is not actually dead, but is being held in one of the toughest prisons in Russia. They’re not sure she’s there, or what information she may have given up on the other Sisters. They are sure that they want Jenkins to return to Russia, free her from the prison, and get her out of the country.

I wondered at this point just how long the author was going to push a 6′ 5″, 65 year old black man into a country where a) he sticks out like a 6′ 5″, 65 year old black man would in a rather overwhelmingly white country, and b) he’s already been there, is known to the FSB (the KGB’s successor), and has previously created havoc there.

Jenkins isn’t sure he wants to go, is definitely sure his wife and kids won’t want him to go, but does feel that he owes Paulina to help her if he can. Of course he signs on, and once again, he’s off to Mother Russia.

Viktor Federov is back (and on a side note, I would love to have a couple of books about THAT guy), retired now from the FSB thanks to his inability to catch Jenkins in The Eighth Sister. Jenkins blackmails him into assisting, first with figuring out a way to get Paulina out of the prison, and then getting all of them away safely.

I won’t spoil any of that except to say that the bank scene was quite funny, and one of the nonverbal discussions with Paulina is rather ingenious, relying on knowledge of where the cameras are and where the guards will be.

The chase that ensues – three targets instead of one – is now lead by a prototypical old KGB-style chief, who constantly silences his underlings, ignores the supposed lead investigator’s advice, but tells him failure will be on his head. When that investigator suddenly “retires” to take care of his father, it’s all out pursuit, by land, water, and even by air into another country’s airspace.

It’s a fun book, and better than The Eighth Sister, although readers will still have to up their suspension of disbelief game.

A solid four stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the reading copy.

Review: House Privilege (Joe DeMarco #14)

One of the best things about reading is stumbling across a series you didn’t know existed.

One of the worst things about reading is stumbling across a series you didn’t know existed.

I would say House Privilege falls into both of those categories for me. The first, because I do enjoy books like this, where a fixer works (mostly) behind the scenes to do things to support an Important Person, whether that Important Person is a politician, a big business/union leader, an athlete, and so on. The second, because it means that I don’t know the canon of that fixer: their history, their strengths or weaknesses, and how successful they’ve been in the past to fix something for their employer. As this is number fourteen in a series, I’d be inclined to guess that Joe DeMarco is fairly successful.

House Privilege opens with DeMarco returning to Washington, DC, after his equivalent of a mob no-show job was discovered with the political winds having changed the US government, and his Democrat boss John Mahoney lost his role as Speaker of the House. Those winds have changed again, and Mahoney is poised to reclaim the gavel and, by extension, return DeMarco to his post as Mahoney’s personal fixer. His first job seems relatively easy: check up on Cassie Russell, the only survivor of a small plane crash that killed her billionaire parents and that left Mahoney as her legal guardian, as Mahoney’s wife is out west, seeing to a terminally ill friend.

DeMarco dutifully heads to Boston, where he meets the girl and the Russell’s housekeeper, and finds Cassie thinks she will just stay in her parent’s home and doesn’t understand that isn’t quite how it’s going to work. But he doesn’t disabuse her of that thought, and heads out to meet the manager of the Russell’s trust, Erin Kelly, who appears to be capable enough, and when DeMarco asks her about a few things, has ready answers for how to handle them. He leaves, fairly confident that other than the girl’s ideas about where she will live, everything is fine.

Spoilers ahead….skip to SPOILERS END for the summary.


On his return to the Russell’s house to check in again on Cassie, the housekeeper gives him a name: Jerry Feldman. She overheard a conversation the Russells were having that indicated all may not have been well with Erin Kelly’s management of the trust, and that a CPA named Jerry Feldman was auditing the books for it. DeMarco heads out to find Feldman.

Feldman, unfortunately, has met his demise during a robbery of a convenience store, which seems rather coincidental, and DeMarco digs around, only to find that Erin Kelly is the niece of Mike Kelly, a notorious mobster in Boston. This raises the question for him – although not for us, having already received scenes between Mike and Erin that detail how angry she is that Cassie was not also killed in the plane crash and that she wants someone else killed as well – that perhaps Erin is not the chipper go-getter she appears to be.

DeMarco finds out that Feldman has been killed and believes Cassie may also be in danger, so he takes her up to a property owned by the Russells – a cabin in the woods, with few neighbors, and what neighbors there are a good bit of distance away. Pat McGuire, Mike Kelly’s top guy, has followed them there and attempts to kill Cassie. He is interrupted by a couple of teenagers (a young man and woman), and flees after shooting the young man and trying to shoot at Cassie as she swims away. One problem: McGuire has left fingerprints on the inflatable raft he used while there.

Now sure that Erin Kelly is a very bad person, DeMarco tells a Boston PD detective about all of it, but of course, jurisdictional problems are a thing. The NTSB, investigating the plane crash, won’t have a findings for awhile, and there are no direct links between any of it that he can prove.

DeMarco learns from Mahoney that there’s someone attempting to blackmail him with what are supposedly Mahoney cheating with a woman. Knowing that Mahoney does cheat on his wife, DeMarco meets with the blackmailer, who, it turns out, is a guy who was fired from his job for excessive absenteeism due to being an alcoholic, but who is now sober but in desperate need of money. He decides he just doesn’t have the heart to be a bad guy, and tells DeMaarco to forget it.

Meanwhile, McGuire, knowing he will be arrested once his prints are lifted, makes Mike promise that if anything happens to him that Mike will take care of McGuire’s elderly mother. Mike by now knows that his niece is in charge of billions of dollars and is considering how much he can wring out of her to keep her secrets – like the fact she came to him to get people killed, which has been captured on tape.

DeMarco realizes that the only solution is to keep the audit going, so it can be shown that Kelly was embezzling. He approaches the other two members of the three person board overseeing the trust (Mahoney is the third), and they agree the audit should proceed. A team shows up at the trust, taking everything and kicking Kelly out.

Before they get things locked down, Kelly accesses the trust funds electronically and transfers out over a hundred million dollars, then transfers those funds into other accounts at other banks, attempting to hide the trail. She then flees to London on her own passport and then to Montenegro under an assumed identity.

DeMarco turns to the investigative firm that had fired the blackmailer, and hires them to find Kelly, on the condition they hire the guy back and have him work on this case. They agree, since he had been one of their top investigators. They track Kelly to Montenegro, and DeMarco and his (now) crew, including the wannabe blackmailer, another operator from the investigative firm, and a disgraced doctor, head there. Mike Kelly also sends a crew there, to grab his niece.

The end is a caper. DeMarco and company put on a show to lure the bad guys into getting arrested, and act out their plan to grab Erin Kelly and hustle her out of the country. Back in the US, Erin Kelly is arrested for financial crimes and McGuire is arrested for attempted murder. Kelly thinks she’s maybe get four or five years, max, and McGuire is prepared to keep his mouth shut to protect Mike Kelly, but after he learns his mother has died while Mike Kelly was supposed to be overseeing her care, thinks Mike murdered her and considers talking. He then talks himself into believing she died of natural causes, given her age, and is prepared again to keep his mouth shut. He is stabbed while in jail, but survives, and tell DeMarco that all the dirt Mike Kelly has collected over the years on powerful people, and the tape with Erin Kelly saying she wanted people dead, is in a safe on a property he owns. Everyone is toast at this point except McGuire.

The book ends with Mahoney’s wife spending time with Cassie, and telling DeMarco Cassie will live with her in the Mahoney’s home in Boston, and the housekeeper and her husband will move with them. DeMarco is then sent off to Minnesota to deal with another matter.

SPOILERS END

Overall, it’s a good, fast read, and fun, too, if you enjoy stories about fixers that involve capers. While this is a book deep into the series character DeMarco, it can be read as a standalone, as enough information is given on DeMarco to know who he is and what he does. There’s only one infodump, and it’s a bit of a required one, to describe the no-show job Mahoney had created to stash DeMarco so he would be around to do whatever things Mahoney needed him to do.

I liked this quite a bit and will be going back to the beginning to read more about Joe DeMarco.

A solid 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Thanks to NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for the advance copy.

Review: One Minute Out (Gray Man #9)

Court Gentry (aka the Gray Man) is in Croatia to snipe a war criminal. As he watches the old man through his scope, though, he decides that far away through a scope just won’t do, and this man needs an up close and personal visit. Despite the presence of a small personal army and a couple of dogs guarding the war criminal, Gentry makes his way into the house only to find the old man not in his bed. Following sounds he hears, he makes his way into a basement and finds over twenty women and girls chained to the walls there. One woman, who was loose because the old man was about to bring her upstairs and assault her, runs out of the house (despite the presence of that small army and a couple of dogs). Gentry kills the old man and then wants to free the women, but one of their number tells him to leave, as he can’t protect all of them, and they will be punished worse if they leave and are recaptured.

Gentry reluctantly leaves them but vows to find them again and free them, and also to bust the human sex trafficking ring he has stumbled across.

The story moves from Croatia to Italy to the US, as Gentry follows the pipeline of women moved from country to country. Along the way, he picks up an ally – one of the womens’ sister, who works in financial fraud for EUROPOL – and she heads off on a side trek to engage the services of a hacker. after telling Gentry that not only is there a sex trafficking ring, there’s an ocean of bad money being laundered in the process. Meanwhile, Gentry keeps dogging the pipeline, killing quite a number of people in his path and getting beat up at various locales.

SPOILERS FROM HERE

The evidence continues to pile up, and when it points to a US-based businessman and movie exec as the ringleader, Gentry calls his office – the CIA – and asks for help. When it’s denied for reasons he isn’t told, he requests help from another, more personal source: a bad guy in Italy, where the women will be sold at auction. The bigshot US businessman will also be in attendance at this particular stop even though his head of security advises him against it, and Gentry wants to get to him somehow, and kill him. On the evening of the auction, Gentry spots members of a special ops team, realizes they’re hunting him, and eventually there’s a big firefight, with the bad guys hoping on a private plane with two women marked for “special handling” – that is, to serve as sex slaves for he crooked businessman.

Gentry makes his way back to the States via a pretty humorous (considering the circumstances) method, and gets to California. Based on information provided by the EUROPOL analyst, he makes his way to the bigshot’s house. He realizes he can’t take the entire compound by himself, so enlists the help of some old operators (and I mean older in ago, as in, this sort of thing is a young person’s game). After killing some more bad guys, and talking the bigshot’s personal security out of protecting the bigshot, Gentry has come face to face with the bad guy – but he promised the CIA he wouldn’t kill the guy, because the guy is an asset to the CIA, providing information on the flow of money and arms around the world. Since Gentry can’t kill the bad guy, he shoots the bad guy right in the crotch, blowing his junk off. I guess that means no more sexytimes for him, assaulting or otherwise, although the way medicine is these days, and the fact that he’s a billionaire, it could be entirely possible bad guy could get his nether regions redone and go right back to his evil ways. On the other hand, it’s made clear in the last few chapters that the gad guy needs ED drugs and coke in order to be able to perform, so maybe not.

Gentry then walks away from the house, despite the LAPD showing up in huge numbers. He climbs into a van holding some CIA dudes, and they drive off into the sunset.

END SPOILERS

The end of the book evokes The Shawshank Redemption (or, for the pedants, “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”) with a litany of “hopes”. This book really does seem to be one of the more adaptable ones of the series for the big screen, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it adapted into a screenplay and made into a movie starring some actor everyone will either love or hate, with the hate side pointing out all the ways X could not possibly be the Gray Man.

Overall, if you like the Gray Man series, you’ll like this book. I do, and I did.

Four solid stars out of five.