Wednesday, March 9, 2016

REVIEW: Cold Barrel Zero (John Hayes, #1) by Matthew Quirk

**** (4) out of 5 stars

I don’t read many “military thrillers,” but I’m glad I tried this one as I really enjoyed it.  There was definitely a lot of action, and those scenes were very well written.  They just draw you into the story and almost force you to keep reading.

The storyline was intriguing, complex and suspenseful.  For a good portion of the book, you are left wondering who are truly the “good guys” and who are the “bad guys.”  Although all of that is relative, given the black ops nature of the original situation around which the main plot evolves.  And anyone who doubts the realistic nature of the story has only to read the recent headlines of US drone strikes in Africa to realize that it is all too possible.  Not until the very last chapter do you find out who is the ultimate “bad guy.”

There is a very large cast of original characters - many with nondescript names like Green, Cook, Ward and Hall.  This made things very confusing, and oftentimes it was difficult to keep track of who was doing what or even who was on whose side!  Many of the players seemed quite interesting, but they were often not fully developed; several were killed off at various points in the narrative and others just disappeared from the storyline.

There were a few scenes that just didn’t seem to jive with the action prior to them, especially in some of cliffhanger chapter endings.

The one thing that I disliked the most was the switching in perspective from first-person with one of the characters to third-person with everyone else.  And the person who received the first-person account didn’t even seem to be the main character, which made it even weirder.

Overall though, a very good, entertaining action book with an engaging backstory and intriguing premise.  One I will definitely recommend, especially for those who enjoy this genre.
I received a free pdf copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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