Graham's Reviews > The Hit List

The Hit List by Chris Ryan
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Dec 20, 08

bookshelves: thriller
Read in January, 2005, read count: 1

Another ‘stand alone’ Ryan adventure, this sees the former SAS man in the familiar terrority of murky British intelligence and secret groups trained in the art of killing. His hero, Nick Slater, is yet again a different face on the main old character, basically Ryan himself, a character who has just left the SAS and who struggles to survive with normal, everyday civilian life.

Having read his later books first, I immediately noticed that the plot here isn’t as complex as the later ones – there isn’t as much going on. But in all other aspects Ryan is at the top of his game, especially in the sequences of action and violence, which he delivers with typical hard realism and aplomb. In fact, early on the book contains my favourite scene in any of Ryan’s work; it involves Slater’s P.E. teacher tackling a couple of Israeli kidnappers at his school. The juxtaposition of a typical British location with extreme violence and cunning tactics makes for an enthralling sequence.

Other meaty elements include disposal by wood chipper, a body in a trunk and an excellently-staged shoot-out. The book is extraordinarily violent in places more – more so than two others I’ve read, The Watchman and Greed, but it never leaves a foul taste in your mouth: instead this is exciting and entertaining in equal measure. Ryan throws in timely references to the conspiracy surrounding Robert Maxwell’s death and the trial of some Serbian war criminals, making this an up-to-date, pulse-pounding thriller that never disappoints.
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