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The Wrecking Crew (Janac's Games #2) Kindle Edition
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This is not the style of book I would normally consider reading.
I am glad I did.
I felt sorry for Hamnet throughout the story even though he was a calculating killer when necessary.
His family meant everything to him which made him a hero in my eyes.I recommend this to any one who likes a good read.
Held my interest throughout and I will certainly buy more books from this author providing the price range remains reasonable.
I surprised myself earlier on this year by enjoying Chisnell's first thriller `The Defector', an edge-of-the-seat introduction to his remorseless villain Janac, who returns now to provoke another victim in a new game of cat and mouse. Janac is a yellow-toothed steel-eyed psychopath who entertains himself by attaching cynical moral dilemmas to his evil-doing. In the Defector, the flawed hero was forced to face `The Prisoner's Dilemma'; should he co-operate or defect to survive? In this new voyage of torment, Janac confronts Hamnet with the moral question of whether it is better to sacrifice the few for the good of many - but the stakes are high when they include Hamnet's kidnapped pregnant wife, and when you-know-who is in charge of the sacrificial rites.
Driven from Australia by Triads, Janac has taken his drug trade to the high seas, and added piracy to his repertoire. The booty-laden container ships coming out of Hong Kong and Singapore are his targets for plunder, and there are MP5s instead of cutlasses; but that won't stop Janac from enjoying a little tradition...
Yet perhaps this time he has met his match in Phillip Hamnet, who tantalizingly, may hold a secret which Janac (who studies and tests human behaviour in order to control) craves the answer to - what really happened before on that lifeboat? What sort of man is he dealing with? The final bloody denouement holds a surprise I didn't see coming, for Janac has kept a cruel secret of his own.
The Wrecking Crew does not flow quite as easily as The Defector; the author is a professional sailor, and certainly knows his stuff, but there are long descriptions which require a greater knowledge of seafaring and geography than I, at least, possess. And Chisnell's heroes have an endearing, if somewhat comical manner of always trying to smarten up with a clean pair of trousers and a shirt (and tropical monsoons are always at hand to wash the sea salt out) only to immediately become wet, bloodied or naked again. But this probably says more about my warped sense of humour than the story's exposition.
On the plus side, both The Wrecking Crew and The Defector have an episodic quality about them that remind me of classic television serial thrillers, the like of which we do not see enough anymore. And Mark Chisnell pulls no punches: the action is immediate, where anything could happen; so don't expect happy or otherwise neatly tied up endings. That said, there is some small redemption in this particular tale. Intrigued? Go discover...
In THE DEFECTOR, the reader was introduced to an iniquitous character named Janac, apparently once a member of an elite U.S. special forces outfit, who's taken up a life of vicious criminality and drug dealing in Southeast Asia. A student of sorts of human nature, Janac revels in forcing cruel mental choice games onto more or less innocent individuals that, through bad luck and circumstance, fall within his orbit of power and control. In THE DEFECTOR, the unwilling participant was a former London currency trader named Martin who'd escaped to Thailand after a career gone wrong, and the game involved something called the Prisoner's Dilemma. I gave that book four stars.
The somewhat unique nature of this pair of novels is that it's Janac, the Bad Guy Extraordinaire, whom author Mark Chisnell carries forward into the second installment.
THE WRECKING CREW takes place some 6-7 years after THE DEFECTOR. Janac has now taken up piracy on the high seas, and his unwilling game-player is Phillip Hamnet, the captain of a cargo ship captured by Janac and his gang. In short, while Phillip manages to escape capture while the rest of his crew is murdered, his pregnant wife, who was along for the boat ride, is taken captive by Janac and carried off to his home base. With her in his power, Janac forces Phillip to make ruthless choices. How Phillip deals with his dilemma is the book's plot.
In contrast to Mark of the first installment, the reader may find Hamnet a more sympathetic Good Guy. Mark got into his fix with Janac after a series of bad personal decisions back in Old Blighty. In my opinion at the time, Mark almost got what he deserved. Here, Phillip has led a relatively blameless life and was once even judged a hero by society at large. So, it's not difficult for the reader to root for him. In any case, Janac finds in Hamnet a more dangerous, capable, and clever adversary.
THE WRECKING CREW is tautly written and thoroughly entertaining thriller worth every one of the five stars I'm awarding. However, without giving away any specifics, what surprised me was the conclusion.
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