I’ll start by saying don’t generally like thrillers. I find them formulaic potboilers and often not well written. But they are easy to read, and I can see why there’s such a huge market for them.
This particular book was fast-paced, as thrillers need to be, and featured solid characters. Those who follow Mark’s other works will be familiar with John Milton and Beatrix Rose. I found them both to be archetypes of the genre; believable, but nothing that would redefine tropes.
Mark’s writing style, too, is honed to suit the genre in which he writes. The no-nonsense prose focuses on action, with characterisation coming a close second. Sentences are to the point, with little in the way of flowery adornment. He tells you what you need to know and leaves the rest to your imagination; no purple prose here. One thing I did find annoying was his frequent use of the passive voice. The other was the setting. Dawson set the bulk of the novel in South America. The location has no impact on the action at all -it really could have been set anywhere) yet seems at great pains to tell us how vivid his scene-setting is. This eagerness, manifest in a list of local areas that Rose wanders around whilst checking for tails, is more intrusive than anything. Contrast this with Fleming’s scene-setting for Bond, which is always in the background and feels so much more natural and less contrived. However, this could be a symptom of Dawson compressing this information into the confines of a novella rather than
Overall this is a solid example of genre writing that fits well with what I’ve read of the likes of Jack Reacher and his ilk. As I’m not a fan of the genre I probably won’t buy any more books, but I have no doubt this story will satisfy those who are. So overall then, a well-written example of a thriller; just not for me.