Review: Burner by Mark Greaney

If you love chunky action thrillers of the classic Clancy/Ludlum variety, you’re probably already reading Mark Greaney. If you’re not, you’re missing out on one of the best in the biz. 

This Gray Man novel, has a classic set-up: former CIA office Court Gentry and former SVR operative Zoya Zakharova — would-be lovers if not for their professions as freelance assassins — are unknowingly pitched against each other when Russian financial planner Igor Krupkin comes to  Swiss banker Alex Velesky with two phones loaded with Kremlin secrets, including details of ongoing operations in the West. Naturally there are deadly forces who don’t want this information exposed. They want the phones destroyed, and anyone who has handled them eliminated.

As always, everyone in Burner demonstrates almost superhuman endurance and intelligence. It’s exactly what you expect from the genre. Greaney manipulates his dynamos with aplomb, shunting them into some of the series’ best action sequences. The centrepiece of the novel is an inventively-staged shoot-out on a Swiss train, where Gentry and Zakharova finally cross paths. 

Greaney is brilliantly skilled at constructing plots that up the ante just when you think it’s already reached its apex. Twelve books deep, the series remains as exciting as ever. 

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