A one-night stand between a historic tour of the Balkans and a Jack Ryan Jr thriller. Roughly shared half and half, the 460-page tome could have made a good 300 page Tom Clancy gripper. Mike Maden is one of three authors in the Tom Clancy fine fiction factory.
However, as interesting and involved as the Serb-Croat-Bosnian entanglement is, the tourist trip of wonderful scene and cuisine would also certainly have encouraged a lot of potential new visitors.
On a personal mission for his mother who met, as her eye-surgery patient, a captivating child in Sarajevo years before, Jack meets Aida and falls under her spell. By luck and agent trade-craft awareness, Jack escapes attempts on his life, but does not connect them to his mother’s request. His own team of fellow agents try to track him but always seem to remain a step behind. He is strangely naive, convinced that Aida is surrounded by ill-intentioned men hell-bent on kidnapping her. Of course the truth comes at a cost.
Mike Maden writes well; the flow is good and if you can live with the travelogue, it is an enjoyable read. If it’s a tightly-knit breath-robbing thriller you’re after, this is not it. Slightly disappointing, after I read Grant Blackwood’s Duty and Honour, which I enjoyed more.
Nevertheless, thanks to Penguin Random House, SA for this ARC, for which, as always, an honest review.
A Penguin/Michael Joseph imprint from Penguin Random House, UK. ISBN: 978-0-718-18930-3.