For Your Eyes Only

For Your Eyes Only is a collection of five short stories featuring James Bond. Most of the stories have Bond on some kind of mission, but he does listen to a story about a dinner guest in one of them. Despite being short stories, Fleming includes plenty of detail in each of the stories. However, with them being short stories, they never develop into the thrillers that the series is noted for.

Rating (out of 5): ***

The Fourteenth Protocol

Cade Williams works at an email company as a technician. He gets called up to the mysterious floor 17 to solve a problem and whilst briefly up there, he hears mention of Tucson, the latest town in America to suffer a terrorist bombing. At the same time, Special Agent Jana Baker overhears a conversation between two people who are discussing the attack and future ones. This sets up a race against time to prevent an unimaginable attack on America.

Continue reading my review of The Fourteenth Protocol

Sea of Shadows

The German economy is in trouble. The German Chancellor has found a solution though – selling arms. The buyer? Siraj, an oil-rich state in the Middle East, but one under heavy UN sanctions. The German government looks to sell them clandestinely, sending four state-of-the-art submarines. There are suspicions in the American government, but an incident with two British ships end all suspicions. The American government are determined that the weapons will not get to Siraj, but can a foe who knows exactly what you will do be stopped? <!–more Continue reading my review of Sea of Shadows–>

Wow! What a book. Sea of Shadows is excellent. It’s fast-paced throughout and manages to increase a gear or two when action occurs. The action is described superbly and is generally incredibly tense as ships take on their unseen foes. I could write several more paragraphs detailing what a great read Sea of Shadows is, but that would only be taking away time from you when you could be reading it. I cannot recommend this book enough – it is the best book I have read in a long time.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Last Breath

Three days. Three shootings. By a sniper. And if the pattern continues, Washington DC is next. A Washington DC that is engulfed by riots and has a school shooting just hours after Sam Archer arrives in the city. He’s there to visit his niece on her birthday, but that’s only his cover. He’s there to stop the sniper and quickly tracks him down. The sniper was an old colleague. But things aren’t what they seem and Archer is soon confronted by something much bigger than a sniper. And much more dangerous. <!–more Continue reading my review of Last Breath–>

Last Breath is the eighth book in the Sam Archer series. The scene is quickly set and the relentless action gets underway. If fast-paced action thrillers are your thing, this book is an essential and enjoyable read. It’s been the best action thriller I’ve read this year.

Rating (out of 5): *****

The Liquidator

British Special Security are tired of embarrassing situations; it inevitably leads to embarrassing questions. It’s decided that action is needed to avoid situations in the future. Mostyn, the second-in-command is entrusted with ensuring that problems are removed before they become a problem and he believes he knows just the man – Boysie Oakes. When Oakes heads off for a weekend away with Mostyn’s secretary, he soon finds himself embroiled in a plot that would result in a situation beyond embarrassing. Can Oakes save the day?

The Liquidator is the first in the Boysie Oakes series and gives the back story as to how Oakes became a secret agent. It also shows what type of character Oakes is and he’s not the standard secret agent/assassin material.

A gentle comedy combined with a thriller, it’s different to what I’ve read before and was an enjoyable read.

Rating (out of 5): ****

D-Boys

An American system has been hacked into and Mike Brown, a computer expert, joins a SWAT team on a regulation mission to apprehend the culprits. Moments later, he’s the only man left standing. They’ve stumbled upon something bigger and Brown is soon assigned to the D-Boys, an elite unit that is unknown outside of those who need to know. Brown joins them on missions around the world, but it seems as though an online game is the key. Terrorists are able to communicate in secret and practice against targets. Power cuts in America are followed by chemical attacks. When it appears as though things can’t get any worse, it is discovered that in the game missions have been undertaken against a nuclear weapon storage facility. This was only a rehearsal and in real life, the facility is stormed and there’s a nuclear weapon on the loose with the West Coast of America the target…

D-Boys is an excellent thriller that moves along at a fast pace throughout. With the online game as well, it can almost be described as a thriller within a thriller. The action is frequent throughout and takes place at a frenetic pace. It’s well worth a read.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Get Lenin

Get Lenin is set in World War II. Eva Molenaar is working for the British Secret Services, with the book detailing how she was recruited for them. It is learned that the German hierarchy are planning to steal the corpse of Lenin from the Russians to force them out of the war. Molenaar finds herself in with key German plotters and looks to prevent the corpse being stolen.

The first half of the book focuses on Molenaar’s history and how she was recruited for the British Secret Services. It also gives an overview of some of her earlier missions. The second half focuses on the German plot and Molenaar’s attempts to stop the theft. The pace quickens as the German plot develops and there is well-described action as the Germans look to succeed, whilst the Russian and British look to prevent a successful theft.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: The Kremlin Device

An SAS group under the leadership of Geordie Sharp is sent to Russia to help train Russian special forces in their conflict with organised crime. Before leaving, they are informed that they have an additional mission – to plant two nuclear devices in Russia. Orders are not to get involved in any mission undertaken by the Russians, but Sharp helps plan an operation. The first device is to be planted close to the Kremlin and is achieved relatively easily. The second device is to be planted next to the base that they are at, but the vehicle containing the weapon gets ambushed and hijacked when bringing the device back from the embassy in Moscow. Sharp then has to track down the device along with the two men taken with it.

There is plenty of action, starting with the raid by Russian special forces and culminating in tracking down the stolen nuclear bomb. The action is well-described and fast-paced. The situation the SAS team find themselves in deteriorates quickly and plans have to be adjusted at short-notice. This helps add pace to the story, with challenges appearing all the time.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: These Final Hours

These Final Hours sees Colonel Neil Mattox and Chon Li Su in Pyongyang in the moments before America drops a hydrogen bomb on the city in retaliation for a nuclear bomb being exploded in America, which was retaliation for biological agents being released in North Korea to cause crop failure.

The book begins with the central two characters waiting for the American attack and then flashes back to how events had reached that stage. Much of the first half of the book focuses on the relationship between Mattox and Chon Li Su and the development of the ‘Three Horsemen’ plan to cause crop failure. Campbell is at his best describing action and with a fast-moving story, but the plot moves quite slowly in the first half and the breaks in time result in jumps. The second half of the book is full of action as American forces look to rescue some hostages from Pyongyang before the nuclear attack and it moves along at a great pace, with the action being well-described as always. Definitely a novel of two halves.

Rating (out of 5): ***

Book review: Vauclain’s Shield

Vauclain’s Shield sees a hardline Russian regime launch a massive and devastating first strike on America, with hundreds of missiles launched. However, Jonathan Vauclain and his assistant, Kerry Enloe, have developed a shield that stops everything moving at speed, including missiles. America survives without being hit by a single missile, resulting in political change in Russia, but Spetznez teams in America armed with nuclear weapons are put on alert by the hardline regime. Meanwhile, in America, the Joint Chief of Staff lost his son in the failed attack and plans his revenge against Russia, whilst Vauclain and Enloe are kidnapped by Russian agents.

Vauclain’s Shield is an excellent novel that moves along at a fantastic pace, but there is no skimping of detail either. There is some action, but the novel does not rely on this to make in an excellent book. The characters are realistic and believable – for example, Vauclain has doubts about his shield because as well as stopping missiles, it causes planes to crash, whilst the Joint Chief of Staff becomes driven by revenge on Russia. I have read other books by Campbell, but this is his best by quite a distance in my opinion. I cannot recommend this book enough and is the best that I have read this year.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Cobra Dane

Russia launches nuclear missiles at America and a Russian sleeper team takes over the Cobra Dane radar site on the remote island of Shemya so that America will receive no warning. The sleeper team is successful and America receives a massive first strike that it cannot answer. Except that it was a drill and America is unharmed. There is a power struggle in the Kremlin as some want the incident to be swept up to continue receiving aid, whilst hardliners want it to be known and a new Cold War to begin; America also wants the incident to be unreported. Engineer Frank Trask comes across various people on the island as the situation unfolds.

Cobra Dane is a fast-moving action-thriller. The plot unfolds and it is not known that the attack was actually a drill initially. Once the plot has been activated and both sides work out what has happened, the novel brings in a political aspect as well. Trask is an unlikely hero and when he is introduced, he is hungover. Both sides move forces to the area and the action that takes place is well described. Cobra Dane is a very enjoyable action-thriller and another triumph for John Campbell.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Raid on Truman

Raid on Truman is an action thriller set onboard an American carrier, the Truman. A North Korean special forces operation sees an attack on the vessel; it starts with a gas attack sending most of the crew to sleep, but Lieutenant Simmons and the engineering team avoid the gas and end up in a battle against the North Korean forces who plan on sailing the ship back to North Korea.

The backstory for the attack is set quickly and effectively, along with why the ship is close to the Korean peninsula. The action is fast-paced as the crew of the ship look to repel the attackers and is described in plenty of detail. The book is a genuine page turner as the battle on the ship takes twists and turns. An excellent book and very easy to recommend.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: FAST: A Military Thriller

FAST: A Military Thriller starts with Captain Alex Coleman, a Marine, escorting weapons inspectors to a top secret biological research facility. When they reach the facility, they encounter a situation beyond their comprehension with everyone at the facility who has somehow remained alive in severe danger as mutant plants have been unleashed by a group of terrorists.

I think the best way of describing the book is by likening it to Die Hard as the action comes thick and fast (no pun intended) in a defined area, although Coleman does have help from his team (despite losing members throughout) and estranged wife who works at the facility and he is also battling the mutant plants as well as the terrorists. The novel moves at a very brisk pace as Coleman goes from one crisis to another. The action is described well the tension is kept throughout. A very readable action thriller that is helped by being in a confined area, with a good twist of a third force that presents a danger to both sides.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Executive Intent

Executive Intent is a techno-thriller in the Patrick McLanahan series by Dale Brown. America is deploying a new space weapon and China and Russia are taking steps to pressure an American President (who is trying to get re-elected and at odds with the Vice-President) to dismantle the project.

Having not read other books in the series, there were parts that were a little tricky to understand or follow, but the general back story was given at appropriate points. The book covers both military action taken by the sides and the politics at play and interweaves them well. The action is described in good detail and at an excellent pace. Although it is probably best to have read the other books in the series first, it is still very readable as a one-off read for those who enjoy a mixture of action and politics in their action thrillers.

Rating (out of 5): *****

Book review: Chill Run

Chill Run is a fast-paced thriller set in Canada. Eddie wants to become an author and his friends persuade him that becoming a celebrity will be a shortcut to achieving his ambition. His friends persuade him to set up a publicity stunt but events rapidly get out of hand and Eddie finds himself in deep trouble with only Corey (his best friend) and Jordyn (Corey’s girlfriend) to rely on.

The novel has a dramatic opening and the rest is then a flashback explaining how the starting situation was reached. As already mentioned, it is fast-paced and Eddie always appears to be only a half-step away from being caught. His plans are generally made up on the fly and show him trying to make the best of any situation.

There is a good twist towards the end of the novel that explains how deep the conspiracy that Eddie has uncovered goes. The twist develops very quickly and is not hinted at throughout the novel. The twist also shows Eddie having to develop a plan as he goes along and hope that it works. A very good read, especially for people who like thrillers to move along at a high speed.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Patriot

Patriot is the first book in the Brooke Kinley series. Kinley is a journalist with links to various agencies in the American government. After an American patrol is ambushed in Afghanistan and an Apache is shot down, there is an attempt to find out how such advanced weapons were used, but the investigation seems to be being blocked. Kinley is given some information and begins to investigate and looks to track down the man credited with the advanced chip that was used in downing the Apache.

The novel begins with an action-packed opening as the Apache is shot down. Action is then throughout the novel as Kinley investigates, but rarely as fast-moving as at the start. It is soon discovered that the downing of the Apache is only the first stage, with bigger actions in store for the future. Kinley is able to prevent this from happening in a good sequence on a boat that is sailing towards Washington. Although Washington is saved, a conspiracy is uncovered at the same time.

After the initial action-packed opening, the novel increases in pace to a frenetic finish. The book alternates between what Kinley is discovering in Canada and what is happening in Washington and how attempts to discover exactly what has happened are being frustrated. The book was easy to read and enjoyable.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: The Geronimo Breach

The Geronimo Breach sees a camera stolen by a sacked chef. Unfortunately for the chef, the camera contains a secret the American government needs to keep. The chef realises that he has no future in Panama and is desperate to get back to his home country of Colombia. He is going to be smuggled over the border and has an escort from the American embassy (Al Ross) who has no idea that the chef has the much sought-after camera. However, American officials do and will stop at nothing to get the camera back and keep the secret safe.

Ross is not a typical leading character; he is shown to be a drunkard, selfish , unfit and a coward. Despite this, his bosses and shown to be bullies and indifferent towards him, so Ross retains support from the reader. As always with a Blake novel, there is plenty of action as Ross is chased and gets involved in numerous gun battles as the American government looks to recover the camera. As well as the gun battles, Ross has to survive in the lethal jungle between Panama and Colombia by himself and also dodge Colombian officials after his photograph is circulated by an increasingly desperate government.

The ending contains a good twist and is a genuine surprise as Ross finds a way to remain alive, which looks unlikely for much of the novel. The novel is fast-moving and there is good action throughout, which is described with enough detail to put you in the middle of the action without slowing the pace.

Rating (out of 5) ****

Book review: King of Swords

King of Swords is the first book in the ‘Assassin’ series by Russell Blake. Infamous Mexican assassin El Rey has been contracted to assassinate the presidents of America and Mexico at the G20, a plot uncovered by Captain Romero Cruz. However, Cruz cannot get other departments to take the threat seriously and only has his team to keep the presidents safe.

The ‘Assassin’ series is about El Rey, but little of the book focuses on him and his actions – most of it is about Cruz and the work he completes to uncover the plot. This results in less action than in other books by Blake, but there is some throughout and a fast-moving chase at the end of the novel. The plot is believable and for both Cruz and El Rey, things do not go as planned and it shows how they have to adapt to make the best of the situations they find themselves in.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Night of the Assassin

Night of the Assassin is the prequel to the Assassin series by Russell Blake. It chronicles how El Rey became the most feared assassin in Mexico in the world of the drug cartels.

Unlike other books by Blake I have read, this one is not non-stop, cinematic action; this is because it shows the training El Rey received when he was younger to turn him into such a lethal character and how he got his nickname. There is more action towards the end of the novel when he becomes an assassin and offers his services to a leader of one of the cartels, offering to remove three rivals within 48 hours and achieving this effectively. Although a slower pace than other books by Blake, this provides an excellent explanation of the development of El Rey and where there is action, it as at the usual high levels of excitement.

Rating (out of 5): ****

Book review: Jet – Ops Files

Jet – Ops Files is the prequel to the Jet series by Russell Blake and it chronicles how Israeli recruit Maya became Jet, a member of the Mossad on top secret missions.

The action starts early and continues throughout at a fast pace as Jet completes her training and becomes an agent. As well as being fast-paced, the action is gloriously over the top as Jet turns her hand to everything as an expert and she successfully takes on all-comers, regardless of the numerical disadvantage. The main mission in the novel sees Jet on an island against a large, well-armed force where she is initially back-up to a more senior agent, but soon has to take over. Jet unleashes chaos on the island, with large explosions all over the place. Whilst it might not be realistic, it is certainly a great read.

Rating (out of 5): *****