• Keely B

Certainly not one for the faint-hearted...

What a ride! This book has moments of heart-pumping action, feats of incredu

lous quick-thinking and imagination and some good old family ups and downs, to put it mildly. In the past I have loved a Le Carre, Forsyth, Child; it was his quote that made this a must read (those cover quotes really do work on me, it would seem) but I admit at the beginning of the book I was a little lost with so many acronyms and military insider speak that I had to check whether the author was either ex-military or a medic associated with that world. But no, his background is documentary filmmaker and journo (another one - they do make the best novelists, fact stranger than fiction and all) so a lot of second-hand experience and research, all the more impressive for it, although I would be a little kinder to the lay person thriller reader in future novels. The Irish and Krio phrases littered through the action, I loved and once you are comfortable inside the head of protagonist, Max McLean, they become welcome, almost cosy relief from the horror around him. There are also quite a few fascinating tips and tricks utilised along the way, which again brings it home just how much military men and women give of themselves to be the best at what they do. And the sweat. Even though while reading this, the UK is experiencing a heatwave, I felt almost cool in comparison! Fantastic scene-setting. James Brabazon. Great name for this genre. He could be a character in himself. All the players in the story are very easy to visualise - the prose definitely has that cinematic quality which I enjoyed so much with Terry Hayes' thriller 'I Am Pilgrim': 'It was hard to pick out his eyes beneath his brow; the iris and pupil merged into one black disk. It was like drinking with the Devil.' There were some niggles, a couple very early on, which were slight but tend to make a significant impact if they come so early in the story and they should have been picked up and easily rectified. I think, because it lends itself to the cinematic, the reality of the quieter, more mundane situations have to be spot on. Having said that, 'The Break Line' is a stunning (and horrifyingly, most probably sought-after) conceit and a tribute to Mr Brabazon that I could easily go along with the strokes of immense good fortune that came Max's way during his 'mission impossible'.

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