332 pages/10hrs 8mins
Published December 6th, 2022
This is the fourth and final book in the Bob Hoon series, about a belligerent foul mouthed ex-policeman who just can’t stay out of trouble. I’ve listened to all four as audiobooks over the past six months – I definitely recommend reading them in order as while you do get some recap of previous events, a lot won’t make sense if you just start here. Conversely, I haven’t read the Jack Logan books (that these are a spin-off from) and don’t think that mattered – although of course now I fully intend to, as Kirk’s humour is right up my street.
Hoon is looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home sniping at his big sister Berta who has moved in with him after the events of Westward. Then he finds himself trapped inside Inverness’ main shopping centre in a snowstorm by a gang of terrorists dressed in Santa costumes who have taken hundreds of shoppers hostage, including Berta and his friend Iris. Hoon is once more going to have to take on the bad guys alone, armed only with his wits, his fists, and his unique line in insults.
Die Hard is one of my favourite thriller tropes, so the idea of Hoon roaming around a mall taking out terrorists in a variety of gruesome ways sounded like a great way to round out the series. Unlike the previous books, where Hoon frequently finds himself on the back foot being beaten up or even tortured, here – much like John McClane, (who is referenced so I’m sure it’s not coincidence), stays one step ahead by using his particular set of skills – or those of his friends – to outwit the villains. While the outcome is no great surprise, there’s no guarantee that all of Hoon’s unlikely friends will survive so it was still quite a tense listen. Once again, Angus King’s narration was superb so I thoroughly recommend the audiobook if you don’t mind all the swearing. 4.5 stars rounded up.