Monday, 10 April 2017

Book Review: Takedown by Stephen Leather

I chose this book to review because I had previously read another by Stephen Leather - Dark Forces and I really enjoyed it. This one however didn't quite hit the mark for me.

The premise is that a British Special Forces soldier has gone rogue and joined forces with ISIS to launch a terrorist attack in the UK. Charlotte Button - an ex-MI5 agent (featured in other books by Leather) is hired off-the-books to take him out. She hires her favourite hitman Lex Harper to head up the operation.

I mean that is what the back of the book hints at, there is also a side-plot which involves Charlotte's personal insurance policy from when she was with MI5 - three flash drives that have been hidden away in security vaults. Two of these have been robbed and the third is at risk. Lex is called in to work on this case too.

The book starts in the perspective of Caleb McGoven - the rogue agent. There are a couple of chapters dedicated to getting to know how he gains the support of ISIS. Then we never get his perspective again. It switches focus to Lex for the rest of the book, save a chapter here and there for other minor league characters. This really confused me. It felt like I was getting invested in the terrorist plot and I would know why, where, what - all the important stuff. But nope. Nada. Everything was given from Lex's crew.

Lex is great at his job and is a relatively likable character, although he has his own stuff to deal with as well, more side-plots which kind of overtake the main plot. I think that is my main beef with this novel - there are too many sub-plots which could have easily been their own novels. The main 'rogue terrorist' plot - the one that drew me to the book in the first place - was super anti-climatic and took up maybe half the read time. I enjoyed the other plot lines but it was pretty jumpy.

Still a good read if you like the genre and the author, otherwise I'd read some of Leather's other novels instead.

Published by Hachette New Zealand. Available from 28 February 2017

Thanks to Hachette for providing me with a review copy of this book.

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