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3.9 out of 5 stars18
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the third novel to feature security consulatant Nicholas Colt, a modern-day private investigator who cheerfully operates without any kind of licence. You don't need to have read the earlier two books; this was my introduction to the character and SnuffTag9 romped along just fine. It explores an idea we've seen in several movies - what if fight-to-the-death video games actually happened with real people - and deftly makes that outlandish proposition seem grittily plausible.

The result is a genuinely gripping page-turner. Colt is utterly credible as the reluctant protagonist, blackmailed and bullied into playing the deadly game. The author dangles just about every cliché of the genre under our noses and then neatly subverts our expectations with startling plot twists and substitutions. There are a few moments of near-ridiculous Bond villain megalomania which almost puncture the rhythm, but Colt's hard-faced pragmatism bring it crashing back through the undergrowth and on to face his next opponent, weapon in hand.
There are also a couple of genuinely gruesome interludes, carefully balanced by Colt's occasional forays into personal philosophy. He's an interesting central character although his background doesn't feature too much in this book - a rock star whose plane crashed and killed his band, holding an opiate habit at bay, investigating the lives of others. I enjoyed this book so much that I'll be ordering the first two just as soon as I can get some signal...
Nicholas Colt ain't quite Jack Reacher, but he's a solid man in a fight, and good company for several hours. Jude Hardin writes in a fluid, punchy style; not over-soaked in description but with moments of stark clarity and genuine impact.

A ripping read... occasionally graphic and a bit messy, in case those of a delicate disposition need to look away.
9/10
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on 13 October 2013
This crime / thriller is the third in a series about an ex-musician turned private eye / security consultant called Nicholas Colt. I picked it up through a Kindle offer as I thought the idea intriguing: someone turns a computer survival game called "Snuff Tag 9" into a real-life challenge to survive. However, I was sadly disappointed by the end result. I am reviewing more as an analysis of why it did not work.

The story set-up is straight-forward Nicholas Colt, the protagonist, dismisses the threat in a letter brought to him by a new client but, for the money, checks out the invitation to participate in the game (with dire threats if not accepted). He finds his client killed and himself substituted to participate. The main problem with this is the story is in first person from his point of view so the reader knows he will survive, dampening a lot of the effect on the reader. The story is about how, not if, he will survive.

The antagonist is a bored billionaire who refers to himself as Freeze, the ultimate control character in the game. However, rather than interesting he is just a two-dimensional selfish psychopath with too much money and who never comes alive as a character, instead wavering between stereotype and caricature.

The late-entering ninth character in the game, we are told, is someone significant to at least one of the players. Given Colt is a late substitute and the weakest player in the line-up, not expected by Freeze to survive the first day, why are both candidates for the role people close to him? Because the plot needs it, I guess and strikes as lazy writing.

While Colt's back story is well brought in for readers like me entering part-way through the series, the same points about his past are brought up several times in the story. This is another irritant with the story: the repetition is not just back story either. As one reads this novel whole paragraphs are rephrased and re-used sometimes back-to-back. To repeat the point as laboriously as the author, he says the same thing a different way without adding new information. Why? It is more lazy writing, as if Hardin is padding the story to reach a word count. Given this is professionally published novel, what happened to the editor? Given the repetition is worse and more noticeable the further one gets through the story, it is as if the editor was under time pressure and skipped or got fed up at eliminating it.

All in all, a disappointing read but it must give hope to new writers that if this can get published professionally the barriers to entry are not as high as one expected!
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VINE VOICEon 26 December 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a good quick read and the pace is on from the first page. Our hero, Nicholas Colt, an invention by Jude Hardin,who has previously starred in his initial book "pocket 47", and here we see him retired from the music scene after a traumatic injury to his string hand. With his career as a lead guitarist over, and his license as a PI gone, he is down to security consulting and struggling to make a living. A new customer calls him in some anguish as he had received an ivitation that included a death threat - if he declined the event, he would die! Nicholas advises the client to ignore it, thinking it a waste of time and perhaps some over zealous advertising gimic. However,pushed into delving further and the chance of earning a fat fee, he agrees to attend the "invite" on his client's behalf. He does his reseach as the invite is to: "Snuff Tag 9", a seemingly innocuous but violent computer game, so he believes he may have to sit in front of a computer screen and show his lack of gaming talent. He could not be more wrong and soon he is in a very real game for his life and that of his nearest (friend) and dearest (separated wife), against very real participants all out to kill.

Armed with little more than his wits, his subsequent attention and zeal to the strong motivation from his captors, the story moves very fast and furiously towards its thrilling conclusion. Do not put this one down, read it all the way through! It is a good, quick-read, with a constant fast pace. Poor Nick is faced with some terrible scenarios. It all adds to the thrilling conclusion. A must read for thriller and gaming enthusiasts alike!! Bring on the next Nick Colt...please Jude!

For those who have not read Pocket 47, thats well worth a read tooPocket-47 (Nicholas Colt)
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VINE VOICEon 12 June 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book is nothing original. It's about a mad Billionaire (Freeze) who becomes obsessed with a videogame. For Freeze life has become dull and he craves more and more excitement. With his money he sets up a real life version of Snuff Tag 9, where he forces people to fight to the death until there is one winner.
The premise of the real life fight for entertainment has been done lots of times, in film and in novels. However in this day of reality TV it does seem to be undergoing a revival. Look at how the Hunger Games caught the imagination!
Snuff Tag 9 works well with the main character Nicholas Colt, ending up in the game by accident after sort of causing the death of the proposed incumbent of the number 8 shirt. With Freeze arranging the death of Nathan (his planned participant) following breaking of the rules, the deranged billionaire has Colt kidnapped to replace him.
I enjoyed the characters in this especially Freeze who is straight out of a Bond movie! The writing is good and the novel progresses at a good pace. There are no moments where you really want to go er.... real good suspension of disbelief. The violence is moderate but not overtly graphic, after all these men are fighting for their lives so it's going to be in there. There are intriguing bits of survival for the participants too.
All in all formulaic, fight to the death, mad billionaire, resourceful lead character and a damsel in distress but I really enjoyed it.
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on 29 August 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've read and liked a previous Nicholas Colt novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed this one too.
As usual, Colt gets mixed up in mayhem that with constructive thought might have been avoided, but once plunged into a living version of a violent video game, and not happy with being bullied, he uses all his common sense and talents and battles his way to the end only a bit more battered, and happier, than he started out.
Nine players, only one to survive. Not a new concept but this story is handled very well and I never felt that it was going too far over the top. Colt is a likable character and the way he works things out feels right. There is violence but to my mind not more than the story called for.
Like Colt, I did feel sorry for the turtle.
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on 16 July 2014
This book tells the story of an ex musician/private detective/security man that gets caught up with a billionaire who has decided to bring his favourite computer game to life. The story is so riveting because you can imagine, and dread, this happening. This book keeps you wanting more all the time because you are scared and intrigued by what happens next.Everyone loves an underdog!

Fantastic writing that keeps you wanting more.
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on 21 November 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Former guitarist Nicholas Colt is now a private investigator after a crushed hand prevented him from playing the guitar.

A Snuff Tag 9 he's invloved in a deadly game when he's lured into a swamp by a nutjob billionaire.

A little bit silly at times, but still exciting and well-handled by the author.
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on 2 October 2013
I usually find bits of a book where the author offers too much superfluous information - this book did not do that. Really well written gripping stuff. Just the right amount of gore without being gratuitous. Stands out from so many of the genre. Would definitely recommend.
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on 31 December 2012
Hmmmm What to say, the book itself wasn't written very well. I found the author seemed to repeat himself in the book as if trying to make a very short story longer? The book itself did grip me but found it very much like Hunger games. Read this in a day
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Haven't read the first two in this series but I don't feel it put me at any kind of a disadvantage. Thoroughly enjoyable book, easy to get lost in for a few hours. (quick reader) Will now go back and read the others in the series.
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