Review: Hunter Killer by Chris Ryan (4/5)

Thursday, 28 August 2014
Following a suicide bombing in central London, series SAS hero Danny Black is recruited to be part of an assassination squad, directed by a joint MI5/MI6/CIA committee and tasked with hunting down and killing the terrorist cells believed to be planning further atrocities.

Early leads take them to a North London mosque and a one-armed hate cleric, whom the Home Secretary repeatedly tries and fails to expel from the country, a sleazy Saudi prince living in a Park Lane Hotel - on the surface a devout Muslim, he devotes himself to booze, drugs and hookers as soon as his family are out of the building - and a grizzled ex-Regiment guy who is spreading rumours that Diana was assassinated by the SAS in the tunnel in Paris because of her Arab lover.

The trail of clues takes Danny to a training camp in the Yemen, but just as he has the enemy in his sights, he discovers that they are somehow one step ahead of him, and he begins to suspect that they are being topped off by someone close to home.

It has been a while since I last read a Chris Ryan book yet after finishing Hunter Killer I am only kicking myself and asking why. Drawing on his experiences and vast knowledge of the areas he writes about, Chris writes stories which are vividly descriptive and scarily all too believable. The story told here was both relevant and frightening but near impossible to put down. 

It continues the story of SAS hero Danny Black who previously appeared in Masters of War. I haven't read that book but didn't feel too much out of place as there's plenty of background given to get the reader up to speed. Following a suicide bombing in Central London Danny and his friend Spud are recruited to assassinate the men responsible for the attack before going after the main man Abu Ra'id on a journey that takes them from London to Yemen and back again on what really is a thrilling, fast paced and truly unputdownable read. Almost like a film in parts it was hugely enjoyable.

The very idea of another terrorist attack in London is horrifying and something we hope never to see, the scenes depicted here are quite brutal and not for the faint hearted. Danny and Spud are recruited by various senior members of MI5, MI6 and the CIA. Some of the characters are definitely a bit shady and leave you wondering whether they might have a hidden agenda or two. As the book went on I was both mesmerised and horrified at the situations that unfolded. Conspiracy theories and cover ups galore it was a thought provoking read.

What I particularly like is the way Chris adds humour into the story. Despite the job they have been given and the often life threatening situations the pair find themselves in, there's still an element of banter between them which helps lighten an otherwise quite serious novel. Alongside that also is the danger Danny's girlfriend Clara finds herself in thanks to his out of control brother. All of this culminates in creating a 400+ page novel yet for me the pages turned themselves and I couldn't read quick enough. A book not to miss for die hard fans or those new to the genre/author. Also I really like the cover, probably one of my favourites of the year so far!

Thanks to Hodder (via bookbridgr) for the review copy.

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