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I’ve been an avid fan of the Mark Greany books ever since I picked up the first Jack Ryan books he co-authored with Tom Clancy. While I love his Campus series, my all-time favorite is his Court Gentry series, aka the Gray Man, aka Six, aka Violator.
I don’t think I’ve read another book with a main character having so many nick and code names during his or her career as Court Gentry has.
In this latest installment, Court Gentry is drawn into a battle between US, UK, and Russian forces (both military and political), almost against his will. It all starts when he boards a CIA transport plane which is also the transporter of another team.
That said team doesn’t really want Court on their plane, but a call to the higher-ups convinces the team that Gentry can remain on the plane, of course, without any weapons he might have on him. And as we know Court Gentry, he usually has more than one tucked on various places of his body.
And this becomes important soon because the plane is attacked by some unknowns who want very much what the plane is about to transport: a person which seems to be extremely valuable to more than one party. When most of the people around the plane are shot dead by the unknown assailants, Court knows that it’s time to act. He asks and receives permission to pursue the group ahead and retrieve the seemingly valuable asset.
But of course, things go awry soon after, and it’s up to Court, his friend Zack Hightower, and his current love interest, Zoya Feodorov, a Russian ex-agent who has defected to the US and is now part the third of what very few bosses who know about it call Poison Apple, to sort it all out.
The action is non-stop and there are quite a few interesting surprises along the way.
As long as it was (I forgot that Mark Greaney loves writing long novels – over 500-page long ones – just like Tom Clancy used to do), I did enjoy the story. Court got himself into some pretty crazy situations. I don’t remember from previous books whether he had a sense of humor, but I found myself chuckling out loud quite a few times during my read. Also, for a second or two, it looked like the Gray Man finally found his match, his Nemesis. But of course, we also know that Court will always come on top. If not, we wouldn’t have additional Court Gentry novels.
I enjoyed Court and Zoya’s interaction. I like how she sees him as that innocent person – maybe the last innocent on Earth – and how she takes care of him when he is wounded and hurt. There is some real chemistry between the two which I’d love to see expanded in further books.
Also Zack is a fun character that I’d love expanded into a series of his own with maybe Court helping every now and again. As for Suzanne Brewer, I never liked her, and this book proved just why my feeling was so strong about her. I’m curious how the author will feature her in future books. Will she become a villain or is she just a weak person who wants the easy way out? I guess we’ll see.
I was not surprised that Mark Greaney wrote a thriller about Russians vs. Americans; after all, ever since the latest U.S. election in 2016 that went so wrong, Russians are making the perfect enemies in thrillers.
However, one thing did tick me off a bit. I’d love for once authors to avoid using the already tired cliche of making Cyprus that evil island where all gangstas can open bank accounts to launder money. Yes, we had some issues in Cyprus several years ago, but ever since Cyprus joined the EU, this is no longer the case. In fact, most offshores who used to enjoy lower or no taxes in Cyprus have been heading to Dubai during recent years. Could some authors please replace Cyprus as criminal bank and tax heaven with UAE to reflect European reality a bit more? Thank you very much.
Overall, the latest Mark Greany book didn’t disappoint, and I’ll be looking forward to reading a new Court Gentry story. Along with players like Jack Reacher, the Nowhere Man, and Victor the Assasin, Court Gentry is one character I can never have enough of.