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Book Review#1 - Savage Son/Jack Carr

As someone who reads quite a bit and used to write reviews for a living, I thought I would share some of those that I've put up on Goodreads. Who knows, maybe it'll be enough to nudge you towards buying a book... which would be lovely.

A couple of things to kick off:

  1. No spoilers - I'll keep these reviews as spoiler-free as possible, so you can still actually enjoy the book yourself.

  2. I wouldn't recommend this for Younger Adults. Although Operation Hurricane is in that genre, I don't tend to read much of the competition!

  3. Many of these books won't be new - I read about four books at once and usually, they're in paperback. Hopefully it'll still nudge you towards something you've missed.

Here we go...

Savage Son is book #3 in the Terminal List series by Jack Carr, featuring the character James Reece. I would recommend reading them from the beginning, starting with Terminal List.

There's something of Ian Fleming about Jack Carr's style. Stay with me here - if you replace the wool ties and fussy martinis of Bond with a pair of Salomon boots and a coffee with a blob of honey; you're already halfway there. But it's more than just wardrobe and beverage selections - it's the detail.

We are walked through meal preparations, invited under the bonnet of cars to smell the grease and change the plugs; we own the weapons former Navy Seal-turned-CIA operative James Reece owns, in the same way, we all felt the weight of the Walther in our grasp when we opened the cover of Thunderball.

The evolution of the Hard-As-Nails-Ex-Special-Forces-Assassin-turns-do-gooder books has seen us end up with so many versions of Jack Reacher, that even Lee Child must forget what he's written and what belongs to someone else. But the world of James Reece has more in common with Tom Clancy than the lumbering Reacher and Carr isn't about to chase that fad. Because by taking the Clancy mold and adding in his own vast experience, along with the aforementioned attention to detail, he is standing high above the other authors that are currently attempting to take the hill.

Sure, the good people are excruciatingly good - they run foundations, own land, and live the right way in an almost picture-book perfect image of wilderness America. They are unwavering in their morals, attractive without trying and all have dogs who come back to them with the click of a finger. But it doesn't annoy you... it just works.

Maybe that's because the bad people are so deliciously bad. They don't just kill or manipulate; they are foul perverts, unbalanced sadists, and driven by everything our heroes stand against. There are very few grey areas here - and maybe that's okay.

As a stuffy, liberal Englishman, there's the touchy issue of hunting. The 'rights' and 'wrongs' of hunting animals is a prominent theme in Savage Son and I can see it putting some off of Reece and his buddies. The thing is, being a stuffy, liberal Englishman, I couldn't and wouldn't hunt an animal, but I happily tuck into a steak; so maybe that's what I have an issue with, rather than whether or not Reece and, indeed Carr are pro-hunting. I also thoroughly enjoy reading points of view that don't entirely align with mine - and Carr's prose on the subject is sublime. To be clear; we don't get gory, pro-bloodsport descriptions of hunting; the actual detail focuses on the reasons, the ritual, the respect, and even the ecology behind hunting. The inclusion of this is done purely because it is used as a counterbalance to the chief antagonist - I won't spoil that here - but it's absolutely vital to the story, so don't let it put you off, please.

As with the previous entries in the Terminal List series, we are provided with a satisfying conclusion, with just enough of a scent of the next book to have you straining at the leash. James Reece is growing with every book and with each installment, he becomes less like anything else out there. Still, it's not Reece your paying for when you buy a Terminal List book, it's Carr's forensic attention to detail. If you're not interested in the comprehensive yet easy-to-swallow characteristics of a Toyota Land Cruiser vs a land Rover Defender; there are plenty of other 'guy with a grudge and a gun' books out there - but they won't stir or shake you as Carr can.



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