Review: Silencer by Andy McNab

Andy McNab SilencerMany years back – my high school years and a little beyond –I tore through the first seven of Andy McNab’s Nick Stone thrillers. Remote Control, Last Light and Dark Winter were my favourites; heart-thumping reads, perfect airport fiction, the kind of page-turners that make the hours fly. Flash forward to last weekend, with a flight to and from Brisbane on the cards, I decided it was time to revisit Nick Stone, and selected his fifteenth escapade, Silencer, from my reading stack.

Nick Stone was always a loner; a warrior trained for combat and little else – hardly a man set for domestic life. So it was with some surprise I opened Silencer to discover Stone is in a long-term relationship with a woman named Anna, with fatherhood looming – a little too soon, in fact. Complications during the birth leave mother and child in a Moscow hospital; while at the same time, a threat from Stone’s past surfaces, intent on destroying the life’s he has built.

That latter aspect – the emergence of an old threat – is telegraphed in the novel’s prologue. Silencer is a straightforward romp. Stone has a problem and he sets out to solve it, utilizing his two-decades of training and more than a little dumb luck. The action is brutal and quasi-realistic; Stone bleeds and suffers more than your standard action hero, but always manages to overcome whatever obstacles are in his way. His enemies are vicious – almost James Bondian – the kind of bad guys readers want to see savagely beaten and destroyed. Silencer takes Stone from Moscow; to Moldova; Hong Kong to Mexico, and each locale is succinctly described through the eyes of a veteran solider. There’s nothing lavish about McNab’s prose – like his protagonist, he’s straight-to-the-point.

Silencer isn’t a thriller that’ll resonate long after the final page is turned. Its plot is paper-thin and lacks the punch of McNab’s earlier work; a possible side-effect of such a long-running series. Nonetheless, it’s a novel that’ll pulverise the empty hours in your day.

ISBN: 9780552161428
Format: Paperback
Pages: 544
Imprint: Corgi Books
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 25-Sep-2014
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Review: Red Notice by Andy McNab

Red NoticeRED NOTICE feels like Andy McNab trying to straddle the fence between his raw, expletive-laden Nick Stone series and his more recent efforts with fellow author Kym Jordan, which pack far more of an emotional pull and realism into its pages. Unfortunately the result lacks the impact of both. RED NOTICE is little more than an adept thriller. Undeniably readable, packed with plenty of action – but it’s nothing we haven’t read before.

Protagonist Tom Buckingham is fairly one-note – an SAS soldier struggling to balance his commitment to the Regiment and his commitment to his girlfriend. When she decides to leave him, determined not to offer him a second chance, she buys a one-way ticket on the Eurostar. Naturally, Tom chases her down, manages to board the train just as the doors close – which is, naturally, the same train terrorist Laszlo plans to hijack; the same terrorist Tom and his SAS unit failed to capture less than 24 hours ago.

The plot just feels a tad too contrived for my tastes. I understand this is fiction; coincidences will occur in order to further the plot. Certain twists just seemed a tad too methodical. There are the standard tropes thrown in for good measure; traitors in the Regiment’s ranks; Laszlo’s secret agenda – all the boxes are ticked off, just not in a particularly inspired fashion.

As the first in what is clearly intended as a new series – too many plot threads are left dangling for this to be a standalone – RED NOTICE isn’t the greatest of openers. My advice to any first-time McNab readers? Check out the Nick Stone books. For the rest of us stalwarts? This’ll do.