I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with action novels. I've read plenty of Jack Higgins, Colin Forbes and Clive Cussler books, and similar by a range of authors, in my time and perhaps that's the problem. Having overdosed and seen them all merge into one I think I got a bit jaded and too used to cliches and formulaic stories. I've been keeping an eye out for fresh authors writing this type of books and the product description for this book sounded up my street though, with foreign climes and interesting sounding characters. So, the question was, could it help rekindle my interest in the genre?
Hector Tombs is a gang member making good. While his tattoos mark him out they are a sign of an old life. He has been given a job by a charismatic billionaire, has a new girlfriend and is attending college. His new life is halted in it's tracks by a crazed gunman who kills his girlfriend and colleagues. Former Spetsnaz commando Turgenev leads a team of mercenaries employed by a bitter scientist bent on poisoning people to make a fortune. He is the man responsible for the tragedy that finds Hector. Along with his boss Hector is determined to find justice for the dead, and between them put together an unlikely team including a cage fighter and quadruple amputee with experimental prostheses. The team clashes with Turgenev's equally odd squad as they cover the globe in a race to get to the same thing.
I'll answer the question first, then explain why. Yes, this was a breath of fresh air! None of the usual cliches I'd come to expect within the genre, brilliant. The characters were so off-beat and unusual, I have to admit to begin with I couldn't quite figure out who I should have been cheering as I found Turgenev was likable (even considering his employment) By the end of the book I did still quite like him, thanks to the emotions and principles he showed. Hector's crew had a real superhero feel about them and the overall feeling was that there was sense of humour behind the book, it doesn't take itself too seriously (although it is far from a comedy, maybe there's a slight satirical edge)
I really liked to locations visited in the book, which made a change from the oft frequented locales in many other books. From Japan to Russia via South Africa I felt a definite flavour of each of the places visited and enjoyed the small details. There was plenty of action and I found it well-paced and a good mix of description and plot development. As a final plus I found the medical science involved quite interesting and while it took a bit of time for the plot to reveal itself it wasn't too complicated.
I have a couple of slight criticisms, but they didn't detract from the book too much. There was a sprinkling of typos and I felt the author overused phrases along the lines of "the blocky young man" to describe Hector. All in all I found this a really enjoyable read and I'm hoping the end of the book, intimating more from Hector, isn't just a tease.
Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*