Written by Chris Ryan

Review written by Kirstie Long

A fanatical book reader, Kirstie has works hard to fit the ‘evil day job’ of Financial regulation around her passion of writing, promoting writers of all genres and encouraging more people to read books. Kirstie is the News and Events Co-ordinator for Shots.

Hodder & Stoughton
RRP: £6.99
Released: 3rd March 2011

The Kill Zone is the latest book from former SAS soldier Chris Ryan and follows his signature stance of blending current social issues with specialist military knowledge and fantasy. Although after reading this I am not sure how much of it is actually imagination. He has lived in this World, worked in it and initially controversially, written about it.

The story starts in Afghanistan where the combined troops are battling the Taliban and looking for missing stinger missiles. A SAS team is sent into enemy territory and troop leader Jack Harker watches things go badly wrong whilst his suspicions as to what they are really there for grow. Badly wounded and feeling betrayed he looks deeper into the circumstances behind the mission he was sent on.

Over in Northern Ireland, Jack’s ex wife Siobhan, herself a highly trained ex-military investigator, is now working for the local drugs squad with the purpose of bringing the main dealer down. He is an ex IRA leader with contacts everywhere and no-one can get close enough to make anything stick. Siobhan plans to change that and, with her, it’s personal.

The linking of the two stories is both seamless and believable, culminating in an end that I did not see coming at all. Chris writes in a way that whilst being hard, graphic and full of military terms and slang, gives a measure of realism that all thriller writers want, but most don’t quite achieve. I found myself believing that this book is based on something that has actually happened (apart from the ending) or that at least certain elements of it are real. There are certainly situations that are described that will be true to life and are written with a surprising lack of bias, but factual and straight.

Neither side of the war comes out bathed in glory and it is interesting to have ‘villains’ that are not archetypical, but a normal person sitting in an office in Whitehall, as well as those so dedicated to a cause they will do anything to perpetuate. The total shocker of the ending highlights this in my opinion and it is the first book I have read in a very long time that has done this.

For those that like previous novels or modern thrillers based in current situations, this book is a must read.



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