- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: MIRA; First edition edition (1 Jun. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0778304604
- ISBN-13: 978-0778304609
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 0.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 318,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Nameless Dead (A Matt Wells Thriller) Paperback – 1 Jun 2011
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"Fast, furious and twisted as hell." (Mark Billingham on The Death List)"
About the Author
Paul Johnston was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and educated there and at Oxford. He is the author of eleven crime novels, the first of which, Body Politic, won the British Crime Writers' Association John Creasey Memorial Dagger for Best First Novel. He has also won the Sherlock Award for Best Detective Novel. He divides his time between Scotland and Greece. He is married to a Greek and has three children. www.Paul-Johnston.co.uk
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Of course things wouldn't be any fun if it was that simple. So when bodies begin turning up killed in a gruesome ritualistic manner reminiscent of that Neo-Nazi group, the FBI gets the bright idea to use Wells' programming to their advantage and turn him loose to hunt down the group's leader, Heinz Rothmann, the man responsible for Wells and Oaten's predicament. As you'd expect, things don't quite go as planned.
What plays out is another wonderfully, deliciously twisted Paul Johnston special. With virtually any other author the sheer volume of activity going on in The Nameless Dead (we also have a vengeful former lover who happens to be a world-class assassin, a satanic cult, and the continuing Manchurian Candidate-esque elements) would be near impossible to handle, but not only does Johnston do so, he does it with impressive ease. Taking elements of a traditional thriller (the FBI /hero working to stop a criminal plot), horror (satanic cults, graphically detailed ritual murders), and scientific experimentation (mind control) and mashing them all together, Johnston has cornered the market on some of the most creatively intense storytelling you'll ever read.
Johnston does provide enough information in The Nameless Dead that reading the previous books in the series is not necessary, though I do think having read its immediate predecessor, Maps of Hell, at the very least will enhance your enjoyment. As with the previous books in the series, the science behind events (in this case the mind control experimentation) is explained in believable detail, and the history behind the activities of Heinz Rothmann is equally well and thoroughly presented. There is also a healthy dose of dark humor laced throughout the story, never more evident than in the breakneck final quarter of the book, allowing Wells to move forward through unbelievably grim circumstances with a sort of gallows humor.
Perhaps the most impressive feat Johnston manages to pull off, however, is the marvelous blurring of the lines of morality for each character. Just when you think Wells is a man motivated by justifiable rage and "pure" intentions he does something that pushes the boundaries of acceptable, while at the same time you'll find a ruthless assassin doing things that will make you question just how ruthless they really are. Where does a search for justice cross the line and become a quest for revenge? When does a seemingly unjustifiable act of violence become an acceptable (if pro-active) act of self-defense/preservation? Johnston constantly challenges the reader to question the very core concepts of "good" and "evil" as played out under continuously shifting circumstances of threat and loss.
Johnston's books are no place for the timid or those unwilling to deal with a story more complicated than a paint-by-numbers thriller, but if you're willing to take a step - or three - somewhat off the beaten path I guarantee you'll be hard-pressed to find a more satisfyingly challenging and enjoyable read.
The FBI decides to use Wells against the evil Heinz Rothmann who turned him into a killer with a one word trigger. His assignment is to kill this Neo-Nazi devotee of the Antichurch of Lucifer Triumphant. At the same time Wells begins his stalking of the SOB who took his mind away from him, his former lover Sara Robbins, sister of a serial executioner the White Devi stalks the writer. At the same time in Greenwich Village, someone brutally decapitates civil rights attorney Laurie Antoinette Simpson leaving her disemboweled corpse below a swastika; more homicides as grim follows. FBI Director Peter Sebastian wonders how his career could flush down the toilet a fast as it has with hell coming to America.
The latest Wells thriller (see The Soul Collector and Maps of Hell) is an action-packed tale that never slows down for a respite. Fast-paced, the story line contains too many subplots making it difficult to keep score as the body count grows; though they converge on the beleaguered hero. Matt is a fascinating protagonist who trusts no one; not even his pregnant girlfriend or himself as he cannot tell what thoughts and memories are his and what come from Rothmann. For Wells fans and readers who enjoy adrenaline, adrenaline and more adrenaline, they will want to join the adventures as the hero seems to be on everyone's Death List.