Review: Collusion by Stuart Neville

Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Title: The Twelve (Jack Lennon, #2)
Author: Stuart Neville
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: 18th August 2011 (Paperback)
Source: Purchased
Pages: 512
ISBN: 9780099535355
Rating: 3.5/5
Purchase: Amazon
GERRY FEGAN:
the former hit man is hiding out in New York, having cut all ties wiht his old life. But he made a fatal mistake: he spared the life of Bull O'Kane, a ruthless gang leader who will stop at nothing to get his revenge.

THE TRAVELLER:
a merciless assassin who kills without pity or remorse, The Traveller is hired by O'Kane. His instructions are to find - and terminate - Fegan, and O'Kane knows the perfect bait to lure Fegan back to Belfast.

JACK LENNON:
his family have disowned him and his colleagues don't trust him. But when he discovers that his ex-partner and young daughter are helpless pawns caught up in O'Kane's thirst for vengeance, Lennon must enter into a desperate alliance if he is to save them both.

Contains spoilers for The Twelve 

The fact that I've read and reviewed The Twelve and Collusion, Stuart Neville's first two Jack Lennon books in just a couple of days should give you an idea of how good they are. After the dramatic conclusion to The Twelve, I couldn't wait to start reading Collusion, so I started it the very same night. The opening however wasn't what I expected, and I found that things slowed down dramatically, which I then realised of course was to help build up the novel before some rather eventful happenings as it progressed.

Gerry Fegan has escaped from Belfast, leaving his mess behind. Mess being the dead bodies of those he killed and the people that are attempting to cover it up. DI Jack Lennon is caught up in conspiracies, secrets and lies at work, and when he questions a supposed suicide along with looking into what really happened the night Fegan left Belfast and his superiors are desperate to keep him off the trail. When he discovers his ex-wife and daughter might be connected somehow, he sets out to find them only nobody knows where they are. Meanwhile, Bull O'Kane, a man Fegan let live in The Twelve, hires 'The Traveller' for a cleanup operation, O'Kane wants Fegan brought to him alive, but anybody else involved he wants wiping out, and that just so happens to include Lennon's ex-wife and daughter.

This time around I found that I wasn't as emotionally invested in the lives of the characters, which was a shame. Fegan in the first book was such an interesting character, one I was never sure whether I was meant to like or hate, in Collusion he is a secondary character, this is very much Lennon's story as he attempts to locate and save his ex-wife and daughter. What this meant though was that I could enjoy the story as I do a fictional thriller, with excitement and the usual edge of seat feeling a thriller brings rather than the focus being on politics and religion even though those two things are present in the novel. The Traveller had potential as a character, but was just essentially your typical for hire gunman that has been portrayed in many a thriller before this one. Nothing wrong with that normally, but with the strong characterisation in The Twelve it was a little disappointing. As a thoughtless, heartless killer though he was compulsive to read about, unpredictable and over the course of the novel the inevitable showdown with Fegan was what I was looking forward to most.

For fear of spoilers I won't go on much longer, yet other reviewers have picked up on the ending feeling very Hollywood, well for me this was a positive rather than a negative. I'm all about the cinematic, action-packed ending and that is certainly what we get here as the characters quite literally fight for their lives and in fact the whole book had that feel, again there's a lot of bloodshed, and a lot of fighting along the way which for me certainly added to the overall excitement and made up for the areas I felt the book was lacking. I have to say though I am massively disappointed about a couple of things, and I can't even explain why without completely ruining the book for readers. I just feel one or two things were a little bit of a cop out, and despite the ending being brilliant in places, it was a little bit annoying how some things panned out and it wasn't all that surprising either. I have the rest of the series on my TBR, but sadly I'm not left with that urge to immediately continue with the series as I was when I finished The Twelve. Looking at the two books together though, they are brilliant and I'd thoroughly recommend that people pick them up, my issues with this novel are purely my opinion and others might think differently.

3.5/5

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