Max is back! And this time it's very personal...
Another Max McLean mission, another breath-taking ride through the darker side of life that most of us rarely come into contact with.
While The Break Line was seemingly (and hopefully) fantastical, Arkhangel is far more personal for Max and more real for us - especially with current affairs in the state that they are with Russia and warnings of technological breaches of secure systems hitting the headlines every five minutes.
The scrapes (an understatement if ever there was) this man gets himself into and the luck he has getting out of them are nothing short of miraculous yet you still believe in him and them. It helps that the narrative ensures his injuries stay current and affecting, not disappearing overnight, although your belief in the strength and longevity of a one hundred dollar bill may be tested at times!
I loved this tale even more than the last. It seemed James Brabazon had relaxed into his writing from the outset this time, no bamboozling acronyms. When a phrase is thrown into the mix in another language, it's not always explained which I like - you can choose to either assume its meaning or look it up, it all adds to the maelstrom, although the precise descriptions of fight scenes both take your breath away and necessitate some re-reading on occasion, unless very familiar with combat yourself.
The short, sharp sentences that are peppered throughout give a nice bit of 'Max personality' and the prose is so easy to read (fight scenes allowing) the story races by.
It's all very plausible and all quite mind-blowingly depressing if you actually thought about it hard enough. The way of life we have invented could all be gone in an instant, or more chillingly, held to impossible ransom.
I suppose one could say the current pandemic has done this to a certain extent and whether a freak of nature or made in a lab, it's all down to us and our proclivities. Damn those homo sapiens.
Bring on the next one, I cannot wait to see how long McLean can last!