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The Defector (Janac's Games #1) Kindle Edition
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The story is primarily centered on Martin Cormac, a burnt out high flying British currency trader who fled to Thailand. He's then dragged into the world of drug trafficking and dealing after being rescued from a bar room brawl by Janac, a major drug dealer. Janac is very much a control freak and is heavily into playing mind games, particularly the Prisoners Dilemma.
I have tried to like this book - I really have! However, after getting off to a good start, I became more and more disinterested and had to force myself to continue reading it. In fact, I abandoned it a number of times to read something else!
I've tried to work out exactly why I wasn't keen on it but I'm struggling to identify anything specific. It appeared to be well enough written and it wasn't strewn with errors, which is something I particularly abhor. The storyline should have fitted fairly snuggly into the type of fiction I enjoy so it should have appealed; yet it fell flat after I'd got about 30 per cent through the book.
I think perhaps for me the problem was it just dragged on and really did not succeed in sufficiently holding my attention.
Here, the protagonist is Martin, a former London currency trader whose love life and professional career hit a major speed bump. Fleeing Old Blighty, he now lives in Thailand attempting to reassemble his life. One night in a Chaweng Beach watering hole, Martin is about to be beaten bloody in a dispute over a bar girl when a stranger intervenes with quick and effective violence on his behalf. The stranger, Janac, is obviously a Hard Guy. Martin is understandably grateful.
But Janac, who once may have been a member of an elite American special forces military outfit, has a creepy side. He's obsessed with The Prisoner's Dilemma, a game of hard choices that's too complicated for me to explain here. (Look it up on the Internet or, better still, read this book.) Janac gets his jollies coercing, and then watching, others play the game. And Janac makes sure his version is painful and deadly. Martin soon finds himself enmeshed in a game forced on him by a drug frame-up engineered by his pal Janac, who's also a big time drug dealer. Martin's nightmare has only just begun.
Much of THE DEFECTOR takes place on the high seas. Yachting enthusiasts should be particularly engaged. Overall, the novel is punctuated with gritty violence that establishes Janac as a nasty piece of work.
I found Martin to be an odd sort of protagonist. He didn't completely earn my sympathy for his plight since he landed between a rock and hard place via a string of bad decisions based on a lack of moral fiber. While saying he got what he deserved would be too strong a position to take, especially since his predicament ultimately results in collateral damage to others, I wasn't rabidly cheering for him either. As a hero, Martin is of the expendable sort.
The one thing that prevents me from awarding five stars is an unexplainable contradiction in the evolution of the Janac character when he subjects Martin to the first instance of The Game that involves death to the players as a potential outcome. You should recognize it when you read it, and its puzzling presence is plot-altering.
The last pages of this e-book edition of THE DEFECTOR preview the first two chapters of the next in the series, The Wrecking Crew. If you bother to read this sample, you may become intrigued at the direction the author has chosen to take. I've seen it in episodic feature length films but not to date in written fiction. Well, perhaps I need to get out more. In any case, I've already downloaded the second installment.
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