Many 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.
Imprint: Corgi Books
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 25-Sep-2014
Country of Publication: United Kingdom