Mark Greaney’s 10th Gray Man novel reads like an R18+ “Mission: Impossible” blockbuster, a pedal-to-the-metal action thriller that doesn’t let up from its opening, when CIA Poisoned Apple operative Zack Hightower is nabbed by goons from a Venezuelan intelligence service in a Caracas marketplace when he’s tracking a presumed dead (but actually treasonous) former NSA computer scientist.
When CIA deputy director for operations Matthew Hanley learns of Hightower’s failed mission he assigns fellow Poisoned Apple agent Court Gentry — the assassin formerly known as The Gray Man — to finish the job; nevermind the fact he’s still recovering from injuries suffered during a previous operation. But that’s the thing about action heroes: no matter how racked they are by pain and exhaustion, they always find a way — although Court’s rogues gallery has rarely been so substantial or lethal as they are in “Relentless.”
Bullets fly as Court faces off against American mercenaries working for the UAE, an unscrupulous international spy agency, and Russian agents hunting Zoya Zakharova, the love of Court’s life, and — you guessed it — also a Poisoned Apple asset. By now Greaney’s characters have enough flesh and blood to be convincing rather than mere gun-totting goons, and although he has a Clancy-esque eye for detail, narrative momentum never gets bogged down in the nitty-gritty particulars of the weaponry and gadgetry.
Greaney unabashedly delivers what fans of action-lit desire. Readers who desire the subtlety and subtext of John le Carré may cringe at the undulated carnage on these pages, but those who’ve been with The Gray Man since day dot will delight in it. This is grade-A action pulp, and I can’t wait for the next one.
Series: Gray Man
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: 23rd February 2021
Publisher: Little Brown
A crisp, unpretentious action thriller packed with extravagant shootouts, in which the bad guys are the very worst, but the good guys are always that little bit better. In the world of action lit, Mark Greaney’s ‘Gray Man’ is up there Mitch Rapp, Jason Bourne and Orphan X.
Mission Critical, the eighth book in the series, sees Court Gentry — aka “Violator,” aka “the Gray Man” — involved in a CIA-sanctioned mission to stop a diabolical plot conceived by a pesky Russian sleeper agent, and a North Korean scientist, involving weaponised pneumonic plague and a meeting of the West’s key intelligence personnel. Aided by Zoya Zakharova and Zack Hightower, Gentry finds opposition in the form of not only weapon-wielding henchmen, but CIA and British Intelligence moles, too.
No points for subtlety, but Greaney knows precisely what his audience wants, and is more than happy to deliver. He is a writer of cinematic talent, whose pedal-to-metal style of storytelling will leave you breathless. It is the literary equivalent of sitting down to watch the latest Mission Impossible blockbuster.
Format: Paperback / softback (234mm x 152mm x 42mm)
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 19-Feb-2019
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Mark Greaney’s The Gray Man is as satisfying as any wide-screen Hollywood blockbuster, its superbly choreographed and adrenaline-fuelled action scenes enhancing the thriller’s thin plot. It’s heavy on familiar tropes — the assassin with a conscious, spurned by his government overseers, now targeted for elimination by, well, just about every professional killer in the business — but this first book in a series that has now reached its sixth entry is fast and furious, and a sure fix for thriller junkies.
Court Gentry is known as The Gray Man in clandestine circles: a proven killer who moves silently from job to job, accomplishing the impossible, then fading into the background. But when a job goes awry, he finds himself up against impossible odds: a fleet of killers who will do anything to bring his head to their employer. Stripped of equipment and weapons, wounded and adrift, Gentry faces off against opposition forces in Prague, Zurich and Paris, pulling off miracle escape after miracle escape. Bashed and blooded, things come to their violent climax in a chateau near the Normandy coast.
Fans of Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum in their pomp will find plenty to enjoy here. The Gray Man isn’t going to make new friends of the genre, but for acolytes, this is superb. It’s a blast.
Format: Paperback / softback (189mm x 110mm x 25mm)
Imprint: Jove Books
Publisher: Jove Books
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2009
Country of Publication: United States