Book Review: Bright Lights by Mark Dawson (John Milton #15)

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Bright Lights Mark DawsonIt’s been a while, but finally, the latest in the Mark Dawson books featuring John Milton is here. John is on his way to redemption, just like Evan Smoak is in the Gregg Hurwitz Orphan X series. Both are trying to do good after several years of being long arms of deadly reach for the government. I love reading both series and watching the parallels unfold between the two main characters.

This time, John is on his way to Las Vegas from San Francisco. He got a good deal on a robust car, and he’s having his meal at a stop before going on his journey when he sees a young and pretty distressed woman crying her eyes out in the restaurant.

She’s been driving her electric car – which is no car to be driven on those types of roads – when it broke down, and now she has no way of getting to Las Vegas, and she is in dire need of  getting there fast.

So John, the kind and caring soul that we know him to be, offers her a ride. And suddenly, things go all south as they’re supposed to go with a John Milton book.

Nothing is as it seems, and John soon finds himself in a whole lot of trouble with some evil members of a known drug cartel. When he asks for help from a friend with whom he had cartel adventures in a previous book, his friend, despite his more advanced age, is happy to oblige.

Little do they know that Milton would have been better never laying eyes on the young woman in the first place because things would never be the same for those two ever again.

The story is, as usual, fast-paced. Even when things are not actually moving forward, the author has a way of adding urgency to anything John experiences, giving us the push to continue reading to see what comes up next. At some point, John starts to wonder whether he still has it when someone he would have never suspected outwits and outsmarts him.

To be honest, I don’t think many guys would have done things any differently. Well, maybe one guy, really, Victor the Assassin by Tom Wood, another of my favorite main characters, because he is untrusting to a fault. He would have probably seen the con coming from a mile away. But not many others.

While Bright Lights continues the adventures of John Milton on the road (I also found many parallels here to our other main hero, Jack Reacher, who goes on the road without knowing where the road takes him and helps anyone who needs helping), this book is really the first in a new miniseries. The Man Who Never Was, the next book in the John Milton series, will continue the story started in Bright Lights, this time with John taking revenge on those who wronged him and his friend.

Also, it seems that Bright Lights are what will finally unleash John’s inner monster, the one that he was trying to keep at bay – often with alcohol, other times with AA meetings. I guess drug cartels do tend to have that effect on the best of us.

My slight and onl negative comment about the book refers to the ending. Without spoilers, the ones who outwitted John were truly clever and had seemingly a contingency for everything. Thus, the ending was less likely believable. They just dropped the ball as if they never had it in the first place. That just doesn’t happen with such cunning people, especially nowadays when long distances are really no issue at all. Still, this was a darn good book for any John Milton fan. Now to wait for The Man Who Never Was to see how it all plays out and how Milton will get his final revenge.


Bright Lights by Mark Dawson
Series: John Milton #15
Published by Amazon Digital Services
Published 2019
Genres: Thriller
Source: Purchased
Also by this author: ScorpionThe AgentWitness XThe Alamo, Redeemer

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