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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid special forces / technothriller debut, 30 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: PRIMAL Unleashed (Kindle Edition)
This - Jack Silkstone's debut - is certainly a credible techno thriller, with a focus on special forces type operations. The author's background definitely provides both credibility in terms of being knowledgeable on the topics discussed, as well as on some of the 'lingo' used (even if the latter may not be to everyone's taste). For a debut novel he also manages a fair pace throughout and it is certainly not hard to read.

The book deals with a non governmental outfit meting out punishment to the guilty, or put differently, getting involved where governments would fear to thread due to political concerns. Be it Third World warlords, drug or arms dealers, or any other unsavoury characters, all are possible candidates for PRIMALs (the organization in question) attention.

In 'Unleashed' the main story revolves around securing some former Soviet WMDs do not fall into the wrong hands. The action, mainly centered around Aden Bishop, a former Australian lieutenant, Saneh, an Iranian agent, Mirza, a former Indian SF operative and Dostiger, an Ukrainian arms dealer largely takes place in Afghanistan and the Ukraine, with some small detours to Sierra Leone, Spain, a tropical island HQ of the group and Istanbul.

In keeping with the techno spirit, the team definitely needs some cool sounding / looking weaponry and gadgets and the author augments this by hyperlinking the names to Wikipedia pages, so as to help the more 'novice' followers of the genre along. Some choices seem to exist more for reasons of diversity and novelty value, rather than sound reasoning but overall I feel the balance is pretty good on that front.

While the protagonists - at least the good ones - are capable of both bleeding and dying, there is certainly something of an omnipotence about them, which may make the book more appealing to some readers in a 'we rock' kind of way but also significantly less appealing to others, who may well raise eyebrows at the collection of heroes contained in the pages.

One area where I feel the author could do a better job is in wrapping the book up. The last 20% or so seem very rushed, as if there was a fixed page allocation and way too many points to wrap up. So the pace is upped and the quality subsequently suffers in my opinion - sacrificed at the altar of a quick resolution.

The characters would benefit from some more development, as well. While this may evolve over time, there was certainly opportunity in the debut to give them a tad more colour than they received. The romantic story is also somewhat forced in my opinion and given the target audience, probably unnecessary in this context.

So overall a solid debut of a book akin to Rainbow Six : in some ways and certainly something techno thriller afficionados are likely to enjoy. While a good page turner per se, I am still not sure, if I will go for the follow-ups.
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Review Details

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Reviewer

AK
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   

Location: London

Top Reviewer Ranking: 412