Hard Kill

Written by J.B. Turner

Review written by Adrian Magson

Adrian Magson is the author of 27 crime and spy thrillers. 'Death at the Old Asylum', the 8th title in the Inspector Lucas Rocco series set in 1960s France, currently in ebook, comes out in paperback on the 14th March via Canelo Books. More information: https://www.adrianmagson.com/

Hard Kill
RRP: £4.46
Released: May 25, 2014

Following the disappearance of US defense attaché, Dennis O’Grady, all eyes turn instinctively towards an Islamist kidnap plot, reflecting O’Grady’s previous work in the Middle East. There is also the fear that with the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, terrorists may be planning to launch a hit on New York.

Former Delta Force operative, now private citizen, Jon Reznick is called in by FBI Assistant Director Martha Meyerstein to help with the search, as she doesn’t know who she can trust among the various agencies represented, including the CIA, NSA, Pentagon and Defense Intelligence Agency. She also needs his detached – and non-partisan - viewpoint when it comes to working in a complex inter-agency atmosphere.

Right from the start, Reznick’s internal alarm bells start ringing. The disappearance of a young intern known to O’Grady, and her connection with a top surgeon, Adam Kendrick, feels all wrong. In fact, Kendrick himself feels wrong. He’s brilliant, a keen charity worker, a ferocious fitness fanatic and never puts a foot wrong. So why does Reznick have this cold feeling about him? The search team, however, refuse to even consider investigating Kendrick, focussing instead on Islamist cells as the culprits.

Layer by layer, and backed by Meyerstein against the advice of highly-placed officials, and with the 9/11 anniversary getting closer and the US president holding centre-stage, Reznick digs away at Kendrick’s history, trying to find even one thing to back up his suspicions.

Is he wrong? Have his instincts deserted him?

In this his second Reznick/Meyerstein thriller, JB Turner builds nicely on the unusual relationship between his two characters, the ex-soldier and the FBI assistant director. Yet he never descends into the clichéd will-they-won’t-they territory. The lines here are clearly defined; she’s the boss, steering the investigation and guarding Reznick’s back from official doubters, while he’s the sharp edge and Meyerstein’s alternative viewpoint to a wider picture, unhindered by agency jealousies and narrow thinking.

The pace alternates neatly between the investigative discussions (controlled) and the fast-paced actions sequences, where Reznick comes into his own and can follow his instincts. The writing is sold and the characterisation clear, with great tension as the chase intensifies and the layers of the plot are peeled away with shocking results.

A darned good read.

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