I grew up on a steady diet of genre thriller novels from the likes of Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and John le Carré. I revelled their portrayal of conflicted operatives as they negotiated their way through international intrigue, political machinations and balls out action. It's a genre I, myself have attempted to write in but haven't quite pulled off.
In the post 9/11 world, I gravitated towards the explosion of non fiction titles examining the real world war on terror. For me, the truth was just as entertaining as the fiction I'd read growing up. That's not to say that I hadn't lost my appetite for the genre at all but, I'll admit, my attention had been diverted for many years.
Recently, I re-discovered my love for the genre with a smart and sophisticated entry from U.K. based Jack Hayes whose Dead Man Rising sucked me in, held onto me and didn't let go until the end.
The guff on the book is thus;
A former spy turned reporter, his life is planned like a game of chess. Every move has an objective - and is played strategically, and with total focus.
But in the tranquil paradise of Hawaii, amid the palm trees and sunshine, he is about to play out the greatest game of his life. And the deadliest. A fellow journalist - running the paper's Hawaii bureau - has disappeared. No one knows why, or where? Rook is determined to find out.
He was on the trail of one of the greatest scoops of all time - a story that brings together all the powers competing for control of the Pacific. As he starts to dig, Rook soon finds he is on the run - from intelligence agencies, governments, police forces and from his own past.
He will need all his survival skills to outwit them. Because a dead man can rise once. But not twice.
I came to Jack Hayes' Dead Man Rising at a fortuitous time when my consciousness has been attuned to names like Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Michael Hastings and their endeavours to shine a light into the darkest corners of the US Government's surveillance apparatus. So, I was ripe for a journey through a kind of paranoid fantasy like Dead Man Rising.
And in the tradition of those classic political thrillers I mentioned earlier, author Jack Hayes brings his own signature to the genre with Dead Man Rising. It is a delicious thriller that crackles with intensity from the opening pages, juxtaposing action, conspiracy and paranoia in a perfect balancing act that keeps you invested.
The first person perspective employed by Hayes in his portrayal of his protagonist, the Rook, brings a tactile edge to the narrative. We are drawn into the Rooks experience seeing and feeling what he feels and reacting accordingly. It is visceral and by extension highly enjoyable.
At times, Hayes' story telling reads almost like a how to guide for aspiring spies. Clearly, he has invested considerable effort in researching procedure and methods employed in the spy game. As is essential for a genre thriller like this, it never labours or bogs the story down. Rather; Hayes packages it neatly into the narrative and it serves the action narrative well.
Dead Man Rising is a visual and tense thrill ride - worthy of cinematic adaptation - but, more importantly, worthy of recognition alongside the likes of the Jason Bourne and Jack Ryan series. This is how sharp, intelligent action packed thrillers should be written.
For Jack Hayes, Dead Man Rising is a significant achievement.
Jack Hayes is a journalist for one of the world's largest news companies. Having reported widely from Ethiopia, Mozambique, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and many others, he has the pedigree and a unique perspective that gives him the edge when it comes to crafting intelligently plotted thrillers.
When he's not reporting or writing novels, he enjoys music, reading, Italian cuisine and spending time with his wife.
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