Landslide, a review by Joanna

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Landslide

Adam Sikes

Published on September 20th, 2022

368 pages

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This was an exciting contemporary action thriller by a debut author who previously worked for the CIA. I was invited to read it by the publisher, and liked the premise of a one-man mission to rescue a friend against impossible odds in war-torn Ukraine. It feels like the book may have predated the current conflict, but has been updated to incorporate the current situation.

Mason Hackett is a former US Marine with a bad case of survivor guilt, who works for a London investment firm, and has just split up with his girlfriend because he feels he’s too damaged. When he catches a TV report about a journalist kidnapped in disputed Ukrainian territory, he is stunned to recognise the face of his best friend – only how can it be when he watched Kevin Gomez die in Afghanistan fifteen years earlier? Then he receives an email from Gomez, invoking a vow they made back in the desert – if one needed help, the other would do anything he could, and so begins Hackett’s quest…

This was a fast-paced fluidly written military adventure starring a conflicted but honourable hero. I enjoyed the first person past narrative style – with occasional third person chapters showing events happening elsewhere. The author states in the foreword that he based the story on episodes from his former career – but that the book was vetted to ensure no state secrets were revealed! With any thriller of this kind, you have to suspend disbelief if you want a suspenseful plot – yes there were too many coincidences and Hackett is knocked out too many times to realistically be able to function let alone shoot. He is also improbably lucky every time something goes wrong, but isn’t this what you expect from this genre?

There were some good support characters – my favourite, despite being under-used, was Ike, an Alfred Pennyworth-like Englishman – I hope he will feature more prominently in the sequel – there has to be one, surely, after that ending! Don’t worry, it’s not a cliffhanger, but things are definitely left open for further escapades and I’d put my hand up to read about them. Thanks to NetGalley and Oceanview for the ARC.

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