“This is a well-paced thriller packed with lots to keep an action reader happy. There’s intrigue and violence with just a touch of romance and sex to round the story out.
Jack Calder is ex-SAS now working for a security firm contracted to keep a Dutch diamond merchant’s goods safe from a Hong Kong triad doing its best to relieve the merchant of them. The triad isn’t particular who gets hurt or killed along the way. Jack and his colleagues, also ex-SAS, thought they’d left the risky life behind when they demobbed. Going up against the triads soon disabuses them of that idea.
Why I haven’t given a five star rating: Firstly, the opening is violent, setting the scene no doubt for what is to come, but it hung in the air for me. It wasn’t until well into the story that it fell into place with another act of violence by the same group. I felt the second incident was enough to illustrate the callousness of the group, the first was not needed.
Secondly is minor criticism about the language and dialogue occasionally becoming awkward. When it occurred it jumped out at me in what was otherwise top-notch storytelling.
What I liked about the story: There’s lots of shooting and killing but it’s put into context with excellent back stories on the main characters. It’s so good you can forgive yourself for agreeing with them that how they deal with the baddies is justified!
I also liked the characters. As far as I know—and you would think you’d know if you had—I’ve never met any SAS types, so I can’t say if these are portrayed as more skilful than those in real life. I’d say not, given the deft meting out of information by the author. They’re at the top of their game, they act honourably to those who deserve it, and they care. They’re well-rounded characters brought to life with a miminum of description. I like that.
And except for those minor lapses the story is well told. The narration pace is very fast at times, slowing slightly during exposition but never coming to a halt.
I’ll be looking for more by Gallacher.”