5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Lean But Intelligent Thriller,
This review is from: The Colonel's Mistake (A Mark Sava Spy Novel) (Paperback)
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'The Colonel's Mistake' is an enjoyable and exciting thriller written in a spare, stripped down style.
Predominantly set around the geopolitical flashpoint of Azerbaijan and Northern Iran, but taking in locations as far afield as Dubai, Washington DC and rural France, its a well thought-out and plausible tale of political skulduggery and espionage. The Azerbaijani setting, being not too heavily trafficked by other thrillers, lends the story a fresh feel. The characters, although somewhat stereotypical of the genre (ex-spy brought in from retirement, young female agent with a secret, gauche-yet-competent special forces soldier), are nicely drawn. All are recognisably human and none are superhuman. The investigation they pursue plays out believably, without relying on helpful coincidences or deus ex-machina resolutions. There's also an avoidance of over the top, Hollywood-style action, with much of the actual violence happening off the page. If you're looking for heavy gun play then this is not the book for you.
Dan Maryland's prose style is spare and succinct. Descriptions of locations are evocative without being overly detailed. He keeps the narrative skipping along at a rapid pace, and avoids getting bogged down with lengthy exposition. He appears to assume that his readers will have at least a passing knowledge of the region where the book is primarily set and the key political and economic issues at play, and will not need everything explained to them in minute detail. The result is a book that doesn't insult its audience's intelligence and thankfully isn't the usual door-stop sized tome.
Based on this debut effort I will give the next Dan Maryland novel a shot. This felt fresh and he seems to have a good feel for how the 'great game' is played in the 21st Century. I'll look forward to seeing where he takes things next.