1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I, War bt MM Johns,
This review is from: I, War (Paperback)
Nice opening! The lethal assassin, drabbed in a cloak and armed with a gun, watching a couple have sex before killing them, is very macabre and morbidly interesting. The author does a good job of setting the tone of this crime/mystery novel from the outset, and takes the reader right into the mindset of the assassin. A similar level of perception is achieved by the author when he/she introduces us to the character of Andy McNeish who is in charge of the investigation around the murder of Scotland's crime kingpin. The personal conflicts of Andy's marriage, his wife's resentment and the professional interest in the murder scene, are nicely interwoven to create a three-dimensional character that the author can relate to. This is complimented by convincing descriptions of the scene and realistic dialogue between the characters. The author appears to have a sound knowledge of the workings of the police force, the hierarchy, procedures, various departments etc, which is essential if a crime novel is to maintain its integrity.
This deep knowledge and understanding of police work is mirrored in the understanding of the work of the assassin, one would almost think the author him/herself had been one, given the authenticity of the character's thoughts, movements and emotions. In this regard there is just the right balance between detail and action, too much detail and the manuscript becomes too solid and wooden, too little detail, and it lacks the believability factor. This balance is correlated nicely with the reader's mounting disease at the notion of the assassin's intention to kill an entire family, and the reader's disease mounts as we learn more and more about Lou and his family and their connection to James, who, by this point has become one of the well-liked main characters.I like the way the author uses his/her characters thoughts and memories to create a parallel between the heady days of Cold War contestation and the current neo-liberal economic order, which Gregori has so successfully adapted to for his own benefit. This parallel is further emphasized by the MI6 agent in Kiev who is working for British authorities collecting information about one of the major drug suppliers to the UK black-market. It is a nice interpretation of how espionage in the modern world has changed, and furthers the previously mentioned integrity of the story. This creates a nice contextual backdrop to the introduction of the national, one-of-a-kind taskforce being put in place to prevent the invasion of Gregori's crime organisation into the UK. This is where the real meat of the manuscript becomes apparent, this is what will set it apart from other similar stories and the author does a good job of evoking the reader's excitement.On the wholeI, War a thoroughly good read with strong characters, realistic actions scenes, well researched locations and situations and a good balance of descriptive and active content.