Written by Matt Lynn
Review written by Adrian Magson
Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
Released: 27th May 2010
In Matt Lynn’s second outing for former SAS man Steve West, he and his band of fellow mercs (or members of a PMC – Private Military Corporation – as they now prefer to be known), are hired to drop in on the African state of Batota, which is being run by a ruthless Marxist, anti-British, dictator named President Kapembwa, who seems hell-bent on running his once-prosperous into the dirt. (Any resemblance to a real-life ruthless Marxist, anti-British dictator we can all think of is possibly purely coincidental… )
Anyway, the mission: to take out Kapembwa, allowing a group of wealthy farmers and businessmen to restore the country to its former glory. Their first problem – and the setting of the book’s tense opener - is to break a couple of prisoners out of one of Africa’s worst jails. One of the inmates is a former colleague of Steve’s. The other Newton Bunjira, who has a brother with influence in the Batotean army, and who is going to be vital to their mission.
Aside from this, if they haven’t already taken on a difficult enough job – that of ‘slotting’ the President – they agree as part of the plan to capture his main opponent and chief nuisance, guerrilla leader, August Tshaka, and deliver him to Kapembwa for summary execution, thus allowing them to get close enough to turn on the dictator and complete the mission.
They accomplish the prison break part, successfully shooting their way out of trouble, and go after Tshaka. And this is where things begin to go wrong, as they find that he is no pushover. They also find that treachery and double-dealing in African dictatorships is a national sport, where even those they think are on their side have their own agendas. In no time, Steve and his mixed band of brothers, recruited from various elite special forces around the globe, are up to their armpits in guns, blood and bullets. Some of them end up captured and the rest have to go on the run. And this is where the tension is at its best. They may not be the happiest group of mercs, with plenty of verbal sniping and ego-spats going on to prove it, but they do follow the code of never leaving anyone behind. And it’s up to those on the run to go back and rescue their mates.
Think ‘Wild Geese’, think ‘Dogs of War’, and you’re in the right war-zone. This is fast-paced and furious, with lots of weaponry, loads of action and a huge enough body count to satisfy anyone who likes their reading to be the polar opposite of ‘cosy’.