Michael Chase just wants to find his father. Unfortunately, his father disappeared without a trace in China and a little digging reveals that his death was no accident. In fact, it appears his father was involved with a search for a Nazi airplane which various governments and organizations have coveted since WWII. The discovery that a Chinese satellite controlled by the same technology is falling out of orbit makes his search both urgent and a matter of life and death for more than just his father.
Most books that I rate three stars, it’s because I think they deserve exactly three stars. This book has three stars because it’s the middle rating and I have very mixed feelings about it. There are some parts that make me want to give it one or two stars (the main character accidentally ends up in the shower naked with an attractive woman, for crying out loud). But there are also parts that make me want to give it five stars, mostly the refreshingly different protagonist.
So let me get the two things that othered me about it out of the way and then I’ll tell you what made this such a unique thriller. My biggest problem was that we had two storylines with a male protagonist working with a woman who, based on their relative occupations, should have been more skillful than he was. But, of course, the male protagonist solved all of the problems with the woman acting as a sidekick. At the end of each storyline, there was a twist which made me rethink this character dynamic. However, that didn’t negate the fact that I’d spent most of the book really annoyed about it. The other problem I had was with one of these twists, which was a possibility that had occurred to me but which I ruled out because our narrator seemed to be third person omniscient. It bothered me because it made a big difference to how I experienced the story.
That said, if you like thrillers, but like me are getting a bit tired of the standard formula, you should probably give this book a shot. There are a few things that really made this book stand out to me. First of all, the main character has a background that gives him a reasonable chance of doing well after being thrown into a thriller. He isn’t just an average guy who somehow manages to do strangely well acting like a spy. Second, we know about his background because there are flashbacks to his early years with the father he’s searching for. This made me feel like we got to know our protagonist as a person a lot more than in most thrillers. It also added a bit of emotional impact to his search for his father. The twists were also pretty unpredictable, something I think it’s hard for an author to accomplish.
Finally, the narration was perfect for this type of story, but the women often ended up sounding like men. Some might argue this is an improvement over the breathy voice some male narrators use, but I found it a bit off-putting. Otherwise, the narration perfectly captured the drama of a thriller and did a great job making the story come to life.This review first published at Doing Dewey.