I really wanted to like 'The Gray Man', Mark Greaney's debut thriller. I'm a sucker for a 'lone assassin on the run' story and all the positive reviews seemed to suggest that this was a corker. It was therefore rather disappointing to discover that, whilst it started pretty well as a whole it was only a so, so effort.
After a superb first third that successfully introduces Court Gently, the titular 'Gray Man', and includes some great action sequences including a stand-out one on-board a plummeting aircraft, it all started to get a bit shaky. I found it hard to go along with the idea that a private company could simply whistle up multiple international hit teams in the space of a few hours and get them all on the ground in Europe without any problems within a day. I was also amazed about how naive the Gray Man appeared to be; allowing himself to be captured or intercepted on several occasions with apparent ease. This after we're repeatedly told how good he is at what he does.
Worse was to come in the final quarter of the book however, when a random character was introduced who for no obvious reason and against all possible logic agreed to not only help a deadly assassin in hour of need but to accompany him on his mission. This person then managed to conduct a blood transfusion and complete sutures in a moving car on the person who was driving. At that point I pretty much gave up on the whole affair so when the entire story was wrapped up using some useful coincidences and a bit of deus ex machina plotting rather than the Gray Man having to genuinely rely on his own wits, which would have been far more satisfying, I found I really didn't care.
I will grant that the plot unfolds at such a quick pace that its possible to ignore some of the cliches, implausibilities and illogicality. Greaney's prose and dialogue is also pretty sound. Its just a shame that the story is so weak and inconsistent. At times it felt like Greaney had painted himself into a corner plot-wise and was having to make it up as he went along to get himself and the Gray Man out; hence the appearance out of nowhere of strangely helpful strangers and remarkably useful former CIA handlers.
So not a terrible thriller but disappointing when I had expected something so much better.