Cold Barrel Zero by Matthew Quirk

ColdBarrelZeroCover

Cold Barrel Zero by Matthew Quirk.

TBH, I am not sure why I wanted to read a military thriller. But apparently I did, and I thank NetGalley for an advance copy in return for my honest review.

Now, TBTH (TOTALLY!), this review is based on my husband’s reaction to the book, because I didn’t actually read it…but he did, and he enjoyed it. The author clearly knows his stuff, and writes a tightly paced thriller full of things that only Special Ops type people know. Personally, it would have given me nightmares, but fans of military action will love it!

The book is described as one that “brings together the blistering pace of Lee Child, the nonstop action of Brad Thor, and the richly drawn characters and moral stakes of Daniel Silva. “ Well, there you have it. I don’t love any of the three, although have read at least one title from each of them, and know they are hugely popular.

My husband says four stars (he is a pretty tough grader!)

 

The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

The GodsEye View by Barry Eisler

The God’s Eye View by Barry Eisler

OK, just to get it out of the way, this book seriously creeped me out…but mostly in a good way, I THINK. There were several aspects of it that affected me, including the plot, the technology, and at least one of the three main characters. Make that two of them, now that I think about it.

The story takes place primarily in Washington, D.C. where the NSA Director (a semi-creepy guy named Anders) is obsessed with being able to monitor EVERYTHING. To accomplish that, one of his highly skilled technical wizards, Evelyn Gallagher, has worked on developing a secret camera network and facial recognition program known as God’s Eye. Evelyn is a well-drawn character (although somewhat stereotypical as the hyper-vigilant single mom) who lives with her son and has no family or much of a support system. The third main character is a very creepy guy named Manus who, like Evelyn’s young son, is deaf. Anders recruited Manus, saving him from serious trauma, and Manus would do ANYTHING for Anders. And does (creepy).

At the same time that Anders begins to get more and more obsessed with his ability to see everything, Evelyn is working away one day and sees something she maybe shouldn’t have, and asks a few questions. Anders directs Manus to do some special tasks, one of which involves Evelyn (and, by extension, her son).

Can’t say much more without giving things away. As I began reading, I thought “OK, this will likely require some willing suspension of disbelief, but I am willing to go along with whatever happens.” But Eisler, a former CIA guy, really knows his stuff, and the story is frighteningly believable. As a result of Snowden’s revelations and the exposure of various other nefarious activities coming to the public’s attention, it takes more than the idea of a program such as God’s Eye to go beyond believability.

Well paced, seriously taut action scenes, and people who generally seemed real, although the stereotypes (single mother afraid to lose her job, seriously damaged violent guy, bureaucrat who goes off the deep end) resulted in it being four stars rather than five. A good editor would likely have prodded Eisler to smooth out the hyper-sharp edges of the characters, to make their actions more believable. But, great effort, this guy has knowledge that will allow him to explore lots of scary government overreach!

People curious about NSA, spying on citizens, etc. will appreciate (not necessarily enjoy – like I said, the plot and technology kind of creeped me out!)

Thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review. Four stars.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

I Let You Go Mackintosh

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

For starters, I loved this book, which I was surprised to learn is Clare Mackintosh’s debut novel (can’t wait for the next one!) Secondly, I need to word this carefully, so as not to give anything away…

There is a horrible hit-and-run accident, and a young boy is killed. The protagonist, Jenna Gray, devastated by the accident, moves to a remote cottage on the windswept Welsh coast, but she is seriously traumatized and can’t seem to escape her fears, her grief and her memories of the accident.

While Jenna is working through her fear and grief (among lots of great scenery, with vivid, well-developed characters all around), a parallel story develops as police Investigator Ray Stevens try to solve the mystery of the hit-and-run.

This really is an outstanding psychological thriller…like others who have commented on it, I was mesmerized. The plot is well done, and is hugely emotional

I really appreciated that this is a compelling story that doesn’t have to preach to emphasize for us the reality that lives can change in an instant.

Five stars, and thanks to NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.