A Blog A Day: Crisis by Frank Gardner – Review

Introducing Luke Carlton – ex-Special Boat Service commando, and now under contract to MI6 for some of its most dangerous missions.

Sent into the steaming Colombian jungle to investigate the murder of a British intelligence officer, Luke finds himself caught up in the coils of a plot that has terrifying international dimensions. Hunted down, captured, tortured and on the run from one of South America’s most powerful and ruthless drugs cartels and its psychotic leader thirsting for revenge, Luke is in a life-or-death race against time to prevent a disaster on a truly terrifying scale: London is the target, the weapon is diabolical and the means of delivery is ingenious.

What I Thought:
I had real mixed feelings about Crisis – on the one hand, the book had an interesting and engaging plot, derived no doubt from Frank Gardner’s long career as a security journalist, and yet on the other, there were definite moments that felt a little awkward.

Luke Carlton was a solid spy hero, with a career in the military, but also knowledge of Colombia from growing up there. He also has a suitably tragic back story to complement his character.

As I said, the plot was pretty good – not just a terrorist bomb, something completely new, and a pretty clever way of delivering the goods to their destination. There was suspense and the good old ‘James Bond’ trick of defeating the bad guy with seconds to spare. The supporting characters were also well thought out and used sparingly.

The problem I had with the book was that some of the dialogue was so unnatural, that it drew me out of the plot – on some occasions it was clear that people would not ever talk that way, so I was diappointed with that. I did wonder if that was because this is Frank Gardner’s first fiction novel – he’s a journalist, so we know he can write, but fiction is a different ball game.

On reflection, I will be happy to give the second Luke Carlton book (Ultimatum, out in September) a go, purely because the plot in Crisis was so engaging, but hopefully the dialogue issues were teething troubles, and experience will iron them out…

Crisis was published by Bantam in Januray 2017, and Ultimatum will follow in September.

Note: I was sent a copy of the book by the publisher for a review, but all opinions are my own.

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