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When I’ve first heard about Mark Greaney’s Court Gentry series, as it was recommended to me on Goodreads, I’ve decided to do a binge reading of all the books in the series, to be ready for the publication of the latest novel, Back Blast, which comes out later this week, on the 16th.
I am very much in favor of reading a book series in order (could be my OCD at work, or the fact that I hate missing out on a major storyline that goes across each book, or character development of the main hero in the series), so before requesting Back Blast from Netgalley, I sat through all the 4 previous books and read them in just a few nights. They were that good.
Court Gentry is an ex-CIA top operative, probably the best agent the CIA ever had. When the very government he was serving turned against him by placing a kill order on his head on sight, he went underground and the Gray Man was born with all the precious skills Court Gentry had, but with a new direction in his life: first find out why the CIA turned against him; second, try to stay alive and third, get revenge those who betrayed him so deeply, including his very best friend.
Over the last 5 years, he spent time all around the world doing what he knows to do best, working as a contract killer for himself. He took only the jobs he personally wanted to take and he always got the job done, never missing a hit. Now, however, he decided that it’s high time to return to the US to Washington D.C. to get to the bottom of the secret that basically destroyed his life. In short, it was high time to come home and clear his name for good.
Of course, his entry in the US is anything but anonymous, since the Israelis tipped off the CIA about him being back. And for some secret reason, the CIA has absolutely no motivation to let him try to learn the truth, and every motivation to terminate him on sight.
As in the previous novels in the series, the storyline is pure fast pace action, bordering on ‘this can’t be happening’ at times. Sitting on the edge of your seat because your heart is beating fast in anticipation of what comes next is to be expected throughout the entire book.
The writing is good (it is flawless in all the Court Gentry books), and the characters – while at times I found them to be a bit too many to keep track of – are well fleshed out and as Court finds out soon enough, all have their own agendas for being anything but what they seem to be. Seemingly good guys turn against Gentry, while some of those who should be his enemies help him in unexpected ways.
This is truly a roller-coaster of a book. There is a bit of Jack Ryan in the main hero, and I can see why – afterall Mark Greaney has also co-authored some of the Tom Clancy Jack Ryan books, including Commander In Chief, Full Force And Effect and Support And Defend. Don’t get me wrong, however, Court Gentry is his own man with his own story, he is not to be confused with Jack Ryan or anyone else for the matter.
If you like spy action and adventure stories where the main hero is a killer, an assassin that is, in fact, the good guy who wins your heart book after book, The Gray Man series is the perfect read.
And having read all the books published to date, I can honestly say (and I don’t do that lightly given my obsession with reading all the books of a series in order) that Back Blast can be read on its own as a standalone novel. The author manages to sprinkle the necessary background information without being pushy, so you can start your journey with Court Gentry in the US, without having to wonder what happened before. You’ll learn everything along with him and get to decipher the secret at the same time he does it at his own very fast pace.
Now all I’m left to do is wonder when the next Gray Man will be published.