If you’re a fan of orthodox action thrillers this is going to be right up your street. Think Robert Ludlum writing Lethal Weapon and you’ve got a pretty good idea what to expect. All the standard ingredients are here, in the formula three acts, as two shadowy field agents team up to foil an international terrorist organization carrying out atrocities on American soil. But, in true formula-action style, the baddies are happy to divert from their masterplan long enough to get personal with our ethically ambiguous antiheroes. Personally, I felt that the antagonist could have been quite a bit more formidable, and ultimately wasn’t as big as the setpiece attacks he was responsible for, but all in all this is entertainment in perhaps its most popular form, and so I guess he has to be accessible for the tale to run its course.
I enjoyed this book, and whilst it felt a little long at times, on the whole it actually felt like the blink of an eye reading it. This is early evening reading, when you’re still up for a bit of fun and like to read with gusto. It is certainly best suited to fans of the genre. Sterling isn’t a bad writer; he knows how to craft good characters and tell a rousing action story. Lars and Frederic are in some ways chalk and cheese, yet they complement each other perfectly, with an uncannily compatible skillset; in short, they are the archetypal buddy-buddy trope characters, if without the usual animosity that goes with that (although there is a great deal of suspicion in the early days). But, perhaps unlike many other examples, Sterling crafts and layers them well, and you are keen to know more about them. I have to be totally honest and say that in the opening chapter I was very skeptical about where this book was going, when reading about the mercenary who works to support an animal charity; I actually thought this was tongue-in-cheek – but not a bit of it. Still, going beyond that, the book fell into form.
This is a decent example of the genre and, to be honest, if the author keeps turning them out like this, I think he’ll do well. The book is a marketable one, and he definitely knows what his readers want. I’d like to see what he writes next, and I suspect there is much more in store for Lars and Frederic. I would therefore suggest, if you are looking for a budding action series to follow, you might want to give this one a go – I’ve read far worse, for sure. A good, entertaining way to spend a couple of evenings.
In : Book Reviews