Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Gray Man #3


Rate this book
After Court Gentry was betrayed by his compatriots and forced to take on a near-suicidal covert mission by the CIA, he thought he could find refuge living in the Amazon rain forest. But his bloody past finds him when a vengeful Russian crime lord forces him to go on the run once again. Court makes his way to one of the only men in the world he can trust—and arrives too late. His friend is dead and buried.

Years before, Eddie Gamboa had saved Court's life. Now, Eddie has been murdered by the notorious Mexican drug cartel he fought to take down. And Court soon finds himself drawn into a war he never wanted. But in this war, there are no sides—only survivors...

467 pages, Paperback

First published October 4, 2011

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mark Greaney

85 books4,438 followers
Mark Greaney has a degree in International Relations and Political Science. In researching The Gray Man series he traveled to ten countries and trained extensively in the use of firearms, battlefield medicine, and close range combative tactics.


Email Mark at MarkGreaneyBooks@gmail.com

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
8,418 (46%)
4 stars
7,154 (39%)
3 stars
2,170 (11%)
2 stars
308 (1%)
1 star
75 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 724 reviews
Profile Image for Kay ☼.
1,964 reviews667 followers
August 16, 2021
[The Gray Man] was here, and he was shooting it out with the narcos.
Lord have mercy on the narcos.

Love the flashbacks 5⭐!!
Heads rolling violence in present day 4⭐

I didn't read the blurb and wasn't mentally prepared for a cartel plot. For those unfamiliar with the series, Court Gentry code name Violator, call sign Sierra Six, nickname the Gray Man is living in the Amazon forest in book 3. Since the beginning of the series, Gray Man has been ducking a shoot on sight directive by the CIA. He's a scapegoat who got away.

In Ballistic, the Gray Man is helping an old friend's family from the cartels. His friend, Eddie Gamboa, a former SEAL whom he met in Laos in 2000 was with DEA but got captured by Laos military thinking he's a heroin smuggler. Gray Man was sent to rescue Eddie but was also caught. They escaped a prisoner camp and Eddie saved the Gray Man's life when he was infected with malaria. I love this part!

In present day, Eddie's with the Mexican Federal Police elite group and is dead. (Anyone else hoping for a plot twist?) The cartel boss isn't stopping there and wants Eddie's unborn baby. Furthermore, he abducted Eddie's sister who is Gray Man's love interest. It ain't pretty.

I enjoyed it despite the narcos plot and a few plot holes. I love the character and I'll read anything with Gray Man in it. There is humor for a few chuckles in between bloodbaths. And Eddie. 🖤
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,811 followers
August 22, 2015
Okay here we go. This is the third outing for Court Gentry and it's just (about) as good and enthralling as the first two. There were for me a few instances of what I might call...balking but not much There's not enough of a problem to mention. It's just that the first two were so good it set the bar a bit high and I'd have to say if I had to rate them against each other this one would be just a tiny bit behind the others.

That being said it's still a 5 star action read that will leave you wiping the blood spatter from your walls and airing the cordite smell out of your house. Highly recommended "actioner".

Here things start out with a bang as a man hunter is zeroing in on Court. This runs on at a break neck pace and we see the story heading off in the direction of Court hunting down the one responsible for this hunter almost running him down. BUT then the story swings off in a totally new direction with our hero in a new type of adventure we haven't seen him in up to this point (all I'll say as I don't want to spoil it for you.) In the process here we'll learn a little more bout Gentry, he'll learn a little more about himself and there is (for all you who've longed for it) just a touch of romance.

I liked this one very much so don't misconstrue my opening remarks to be truly negative, they're just saying all these books are highly recommended though of necessity some will appeal to each of us more than others...it just may not be the same book on the top of the list for each of us, LOL.

Not only do we get a new type of adventure here, the fact that Gentry veered off to something unexpected means that he apparently still needs to take care of what he'd set out to handle at the opening of the book...That says sequel to me! So Mr. Greaney's work is still on my "snap up as soon as it comes out" list. Looking forward to your next book Mr. Greaney...good work.

Highly recommended for lovers of espionage, combat, thriller, black ops, adventure and action reads of any stripe. As I said, enjoy.
Profile Image for Melissa.
261 reviews28 followers
December 30, 2018
3.5/5 stars
I’m sad to say this was not one of my more favorites in the series. Mark Greaney is an excellent writer and has a gifted way of describing action, but I had a really hard time getting invested in this story. For me, there were too many instances of “really?” I admit there were some good nuggets of background on The Gray Man and there was more development of his character, but I just did enjoy this as much as the first two. On to the next one.
Profile Image for Kathleen.
1,329 reviews118 followers
November 17, 2020
Greaney has his hero, the Gray Man, use his warrior skills to protect the widow of a friend who once saved his life. Daniel Alonzo de la Rocha DLR) is the leader of the Black Suits, a criminal drug and kidnapping enterprise, and was targeted by Eddie Gamboa and his team. DLR now wants to assassinate the pregnant Elena Gamboa in an act of retribution. The plot is fantastical, but filled with plenty of action. Greaney has fun in creating bizarre situations that the Gray Man has to extricate himself from. My favorite is the ‘beehive bomb’ he uses at one point to thwart his pursuers. Enjoy.
Profile Image for Patrick .
446 reviews43 followers
April 20, 2020
My first Mark Greaney & 'Gray Man' read and most definitely not the last. After reading that Lee Child is a huge fan I figured the series must be pretty good. Man, this 'Gray Man' cat is the most cunning and calculating protagonist I've ever read about. The setting is mostly in Mexico and the bad guys are two rival Mexican drug cartels who will stop at nothing to get their product across US borders. If there is a grain of truth in this author's repertoire, we who live within said borders should be on call and alert of the real dangers these deranged and depraved people possess.
In any event, the 'GM' is Court Gentry and one would want him on their good side for sure. I need to find #1 in the series as I am now on the #3 audio version......any help would certainly be appreciated!
Better the second time around.....make that the third time.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,130 reviews199 followers
September 11, 2020
Lots less steam in this Grey Man story. Too many dopers, torturers and religious run amuck. Least favorite in the series thus far. 3 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Linda.
128 reviews6 followers
August 2, 2012
OK, this is part of "the gray man" series, with which I was totally unfamiliar until hearing this. My gripe is that it's filled with unremitting violence. It moves switftly enough. The author must have more testosterone than an 18-year old track star. It goes from one violent scene to the next. Oh well ....

It's got flashbacks to Vietnam and real-time drug cartel action. This book is highly rated by lots of people, but I like more emphasis on character development and less on torture by electrical alligator clips hooked up to private parts. Yuck! A little too graphic.
Profile Image for Julie.
929 reviews32 followers
April 23, 2021
how many bullets were used in this book? toooooooooooooooo many for me.
But I will read the next one!
Profile Image for Scott A. Miller.
504 reviews17 followers
February 18, 2020
Of all the books I read, these are the most unbelievable. I think it every time. But The Gray Man through three books has been entertaining. Unbelievable isn’t necessarily bad I guess. The story here was the cartels in Mexico. Their story was believable. And scary. Greaney describes them in a way that feels true. It makes you understand why so many try to escape their violence. Makes you wish The Gray Man was real.
Profile Image for ChopinFC.
268 reviews75 followers
May 14, 2020
5 Stars (Outstanding)

The Gray Man returns with another explosive, no holds bar action packed thriller, that leaves nothing to the imagination. I'm so into this series, and its fast becoming my favorite 'cia-thriller' series, by a far margin! This time around, Gentry gets himself in a tumble in the Amazon jungle, with action scenes that were 100% adrenaline filled! I mean, the author Mark Greaney knows to encapsulate navy seals, warfare, and high tech battles better than anyone out there! The Gray Man ends up in a one for all brawl in Mexico, going against the cartel, and the end results are unrelenting and incredibly fun!

Highly recommend!!
Profile Image for Tracy T..
985 reviews19 followers
July 12, 2018
Excellent book and narration by Jay Snyder (audible review)

This is a great series. I love Court Gentry aka The Gray Man! He is awesome.

There is so much detailed action in this story as well as the previous stories. The story line and plot are very well written and easy to follow along. Like I said before, if you like Jason Bourne this is a great series to listen too.

An assassin with a conscience.

As for the narration. It is fantastic! Jay Snyder has such a sexy voice and does such a great job on the emotions during the action scenes. He does a great job with the female voices, and everyone gets their own distinct voice.

Love this series, I am already about half way through the 4th book.
Profile Image for Steve.
430 reviews32 followers
December 23, 2018
The Gray Man wages a one-man war on the drug cartels south of the border. It's non-stop action, as one comes to expect from the series, but this book shows just how smart Gentry is. He has to stay in front of many, many forces out to kill him. At the start of the book he's just trying to stay alive. But once he's motivated to take more practice action, it's not long before the bad guys are running for cover. This makes for a frenetic level of action and a crazy fun read.
Profile Image for Joseph.
474 reviews48 followers
May 4, 2023
The Gray Man returns in the third incarnation in the series. This time Court is involved with the drug cartels of old Mexico. Definitely a page turner. I am looking forward to the next book. If you like Tom Clancy, give this series some attention. Although some of Gentry's exploits seem a little James Bond-esque, this book really delivers. A great quick read thriller.
Profile Image for Mike.
1,115 reviews153 followers
February 16, 2022
Once again Greaney's Gray Man leaves you gasping for a break in the action. Exceptionally violent with two Mexican drug cartels, Russian mob boss, intel agencies all out to kill Court Gentry. Court takes time to visit the grave of a former compatriot who is killed by a cartel boss. The SHTF soon after Court meets the wife and sister of his deceased collegue who are pursued by the crazy head of one of the drug cartels. At one point (or many) you only know the Gray Man will survive because there are more novels in the series. He really gets beat up. Suspend your belief for a great read despite some holes in the plot. 4 Stars
Profile Image for Marilyn Rondeau.
492 reviews23 followers
December 2, 2012
Court Gentry, ex-CIA assassin, believed he had found a relatively safe haven living in the Amazon rail forest. But his past had a way of catching up to him when an old Russian enemy wanted vengeance at any price. Consequently, Court found himself on the run again. Making his way to the only person in the world he felt he could trust, he discovered he was too late, Eddie Gamboa, who had once saved Court’s life had been killed, dead and buried. Murdered by a notorious Mexican drug lord, Court found himself drawn into a war he never wanted, but loyalty to his dead friend, prompted Court to help save Eddie’s pregnant wife and beloved sister.

*** Non-stop absolutely thrilling action is the trademark of both author Mark Greaney and his incomparable hero, Court Gentry. Having happened upon the introduction of the this ‘new to me’ author and his THE GREY MAN, I was immediately enraptured. Greaney’s Court Gentry is all GUTS with little glory - doing whatever he had to survive after he was betrayed and set up as scapegoat by the CIA. Using this scenario, Greaney makes Court a bona-fide hero in my eyes - assassin or not! In the end, Court believes the assassinations he performs are for the better good - usually despots, drug and arms dealers, etc.

In this thrill ride - BALLISTIC - Court is drawn into a war he didn’t want, but the memories of the one and only man he could actually call friend were compelling. He was too late to save his friend but knowing how much Eddies family meant to him, Court would gladly put his life on the line to save them. This was an incredible read, with all the pow I expect from this author from the chases, and edge-of the seat thrills, and a tiny little smidgen of a love interest. The twist on the romance was something I should have caught but Greaney turned it into a surprise ending! Actually kind of funny.

Bottom Line: Anyone looking for an action-packed, blood and guts danger on every corner suspense read is sure to fall in love with Mark Greaney’s incredible research in weaponry, street warfare, and spine chilling chases! BALLISTIC is the ‘bomb’!

Marilyn Rondeau, for www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com

Profile Image for ElaineY.
2,119 reviews68 followers
December 28, 2016
Narrator: Jay Snyder

After a slightly slow start which I wasn't quite following, the book took off in another direction and never slowed down after that. It got so tense and thrilling that by 85% I was asking when it was going to be over because I didn't think my gut could take that anymore tension!

So despite the first few minutes, this was a 5-star book all the way to its epilogue. I confess I didn't see what happens to Laura. It was a surprise to me even though it shouldn't have been. I liked how Greaney resolved that for Court. Whew.

I would like to start on the next one but I need to give my gut a break so I'll do a romance or a serial killer (yes, even serial killers are bland compared to this series!) before I tackle the next book. This series ranks right up at the top of the action-spy thriller genre for me and I highly recommend them.

If you like audiobooks, Jay Snyder doubles the pleasure.
Profile Image for Ben Denison.
482 reviews22 followers
September 19, 2020
I like the first two in the Grey Man series, but this third one hooked me.

Great plot, good characters, and I like the way he describes the action. Grey Man is a great protagonist as he is good deep down but will do all bad things to accomplish his goals. Fun read.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,901 reviews18 followers
March 1, 2020
This is the third book in the Gray Man series. I've enjoyed the ones I've read so far. This author writes great action. He rolls from one scene right into the next one all within a blink of an eye. Sometimes I am 100% in the mood for that kind of book.

I'm also liking the MC. He is definitely not complicated and again, sometimes that is just what I'm looking for. So while I couldn't binge read this series, I always know what I'm in for when I pick one up. Now I just need to get my hands on the next one, so that I have a go-to when I need one of these. 4 stars.
Profile Image for Steven Jr..
Author 13 books68 followers
March 5, 2017
Mark Greaney's GRAY MAN series has always made for entertaining reading, playing out as seasons in an action-packed television show. Each one gets better than the next, and BALLISTIC is no different in this regard.

At the beginning of BALLISTIC, we find Courtland Gentry, burned CIA paramilitary officer and freelance hitter for hire, hiding in Brazil from Greg Sidorenko, a Russian mob boss that he crossed in the previous installment, ON TARGET. When Gentry is compromised, he begins to trek north when he learns of the death of a friend whom he had met while still an Agency asset. This friend died in an attempt to take down a notorious drug cartel jefe, so Gentry goes to Mexico to pay his respects.

What we rapidly learn is that the family of his fallen friend has been targeted by the drug baron, who is a worshipper of Santa Muerte, the saint of death. Gentry finds himself sucked into a one-man war on the drug cartels as he fights to avenge his friend and to protect said friend's family.

BALLISTIC is an improvement in many ways. Greaney's research hit previously unattained highs. As somebody who has done a fair bit of research on the drug war, I can personally attest that Greaney did more than his due diligence in his attempt to paint a realistic picture of the situation south of the border. From the way the drug cartels are structured, to the death worship practiced by many in the drug game, to the terms used and the methods of violence, BALLISTIC is an accurate glimpse into that world.

At the same time, it is no textbook. It is an action thriller, and Greaney delivers the action in spades.

Also, we get additional glimpses into what makes the Gray Man tick, showing his friendship with his fallen comrade and how it came to fruition. We also get a bit of a romantic subplot this time around, so we get to see that he's not simply a killing machine. He's a man who feels attraction, has needs, feels impulses, and it further connects him to the reader.

My only gripe is that the pacing comes to a sudden screeching halt at the end. This is more than likely attributed to deadlines, an unfortunate reality in professional publishing.

Overall, BALLISTIC is a hell of a read, and it leaves the reader looking forward to the next entry in the series.
Profile Image for Benjamin Thomas.
1,953 reviews271 followers
November 25, 2021
Court Gentry, former CIA agent now known to many as the Gray Man, is used to living life on his own. Not only does the CIA have him on their shoot-to-kill list but the Russian mob is after his head too. He thought hiding out in Central America would give him some relief from the constant chase but when he tries to locate a good friend named Eddie Gamboa, a friend who once saved his life, he finds the man has been recently killed by a Mexican drug cartel that he was trying to take down.

Court feels obligated to see to the safety of his friend’s family but when the funeral turns into a massacre aimed at the Gamboa family, he finds himself caught in the middle. To make matters worse, he is captured on camera and now the Russians and the CIA know where he is.

The third novel in the Gray Man series is another winner, refusing to let up on the gas pedal at all. A large chunk of this novel is a can't win Alamo-style defensive hold-against-the-invaders-at-all-costs scenario wherein Court must protect the family (including the elderly and small children) against numerous hostile forces attempting to kill them all. It’s as exciting as it can be, perhaps topped only by the second major part of the story which is a rescue scenario. Court goes on a one-man mission against the entire well-armed, well-trained cartel. I love these plots, love seeing one man use stealth, creative thinking, and superior skills to take out the smug bad guys, destroying equipment, stockpiles of illegal drugs, factories, and plenty of thugs. It feels a lot like the best sort of Mack Bolan action ever written.

All of this is nicely balanced with Court continuing to come to grips with where he is in life and what his future might hold. By the end he’s added two Mexican drug cartels to the Russian mob and the CIA for those that want him dead. Can’t wait to see who’s next.
Profile Image for Will.
219 reviews32 followers
July 29, 2022
My third and likely final mission with The Gray Man.

While it's been a few years, I remember thoroughly enjoying the first book in the series; reminded me of the Jason Bourne film series. The second one however, oh boy, it was a slough to get through. The main female character also felt like she was written horribly. But I figured if the first one was good and the second one wasn't, then perhaps one more time would confirm my feelings one way or another.

This time we follow our assassin throughout Mexico as he fights it out with a drug cartel as retribution for the death of a friend. While this novel is 11 years old now, man does some of the dialogue and references not age well. Stereotypes about Mexicans are thrown about: “Other than pelting our enemies with chimichangas, does anyone have any ideas?” and “It can’t be that hard to get into the USA. Your countrymen manage to do it all day long.” There's also a part where the author refers to "transsexuals" in a disparaging way. It was all very cringe.

Aside from reading about heads rolling (literally), things exploding, gun fights, etc. it just felt like an unnecessary story that didn't serve to move the plot, of the CIA trying to kill Court Gentry, forward. It's mentioned, sure, but I really didn't care about the motivation for Court getting involved with the cartels.

It's been an interesting ride but I'll let TGM continue on his adventures without me.
Profile Image for Syd (deertales).
301 reviews26 followers
February 14, 2017
i actually DNF'd this audio book at 76%: i just cant do it anymore. the only reason i even got this far is the narrator is fantastic.

the first two gray man books are... meh. its hard for books like this to hold their own when you have mitch rapp and dewey andreas dominating the "political-alpha-male-america-fuck-yeah" thriller genre. court gentry just cant stand up to some of the other guys out there. he is ALL over the place, the author is mildly repetitive, and honestly this whole plot line was...absolutely pointless.

now with that being said, i have listened to the fifth book in the gray man series (yes i am all over the place with this) and i really REALLY liked it. i think mark greaney finally found his groove and niche in this genre, and that happened AFTER this book. im going to shelf this one and go download the sixth book in this series and just pretend ballistic never happened to my ears.
Profile Image for Tstultz69.
45 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2016
I found myself entertained, but it was a bit too far fetched. One man escaping the CIA, Russian mob and 2 Mexican drug cartels? Who does he think he is.......Jack Reacher?
13 reviews2 followers
May 18, 2022
Adds new dimensions to the Court Gentry Saga... "Like a man sprinting headlong into a minefield, he [Court] entered into a squabble between two Latin women." The epilogue was especially poignant and affecting. Some interesting asides on U.S.-Mexico relations and Ballistic is also notable for containing the first Gray Man sex scene that I've read: "When she pulled him up to slip off his shirt, he became nervous. He knew how long it had been since he'd taken a woman to bed. He said softly, and more to himself than to Laura, "I'm not...trained." Nevertheless, despite his lack of training, Court proves himself as capable in the bedroom as he is on the battlefield and manages to successfully connect with a woman emotionally and sexually. But as all Gray Man fans know by now, Court moves alone in this world and sure enough, by the end of the book, his beau becomes a nun (Ballistic also stands out for its seeming irritation at the piety of the Mexican citizenry), a decision that saves Court from making— and us from reading — a cliche monologue avowing his love for Laura yet asserting the fundamental incompatibility of their lifestyles. At the end of the book, Court walks alone — as he should.
Profile Image for Will.
163 reviews
March 4, 2023
Fans of 007, Jason Bourne, and other spy thrillers, will like this one. As the Gray Man is being pursued by mercenaries and Russian hit-men, he finds himself in Mexico, and learns of a past acquaintance, who has been killed. Finding the grave of this person, brings him into a mix up with the Gamboa family and two rival Mexican drug cartels. The Gray Man hangs around and tries to protect the family from one drug cartel, the Black Suits.

Pros: Fast-paced, lots of action sequences but still some good in-between dialogues, story build up and flash-backs.

Cons: Not much, though like 007, some scenes are way out there.
Profile Image for Bryan.
533 reviews6 followers
January 23, 2022
Not as good as the first two books in the series, but still enjoyable and action packed!
Profile Image for John of Canada.
919 reviews54 followers
August 4, 2021
I have spent a fair bit of time in Purto Vallarta and have been to San Blas and some of the locations in this book, and I've never heard much shooting while I was there. The fish tacos were great, though.I'm just wondering what kind of a file the CIA has on Mark Greaney. He, and other authors have not shown themselves to be big fans. Ballistic was a bit of a trek for the first half but it really put the thrill in thriller in the second. Huge body count. It kind of brought to mind the ratings of Joe Bob Briggs. It was good to seem him at work when he has been totally disabled. My favourite Gray Man so far. Joe Bob says check it out.
Profile Image for Andrew.
37 reviews2 followers
May 30, 2012
Court Gentry is hiding-out in the jungles of South America but someone has tracked him down and is minutes away. Braving crocodiles and losing his meager belongings on the way, he manages to evade the small force which is closing on him and even find the hunter responsible. And that is just the re-introduction to our hero and his skills.

The focus then shifts to Mexico and the drug cartels who effectively run everything. Gentry hears that an old friend has died at the hands of a cartel, which leads us to the first of some nicely done flashbacks. These introduce us to an earlier version of the Gray Man and to Eduardo Gamboa who saved his life. Court decides to visit the grave to pay his respects.
And this is where the main story begins. After meeting Gamboa’s pregnant wife and sister he decides that he needs to help them battle the cartel who have targeted them for death.

I really enjoyed this book and thought that it just edged in to the area occupied by my gold-standard author, Barry Eisler. The pacing of the book was very good. We hear about Gentry’s attacks on the cartel infrastructure mostly from the cartel POV, which has a nice effect of slowing down the story for the end. The end blew it for me. But perhaps not for you. Certainly if you enjoyed the first two books (and I recommend reading them in order, as I do with all series) then this book will not disappoint.

But, for me, the end was weak.

So why was the end weak for me? Three things that took me out of the story ...

Court confronts the bad guy with seemingly nothing to bargain with for the release of the girl. Weak.

He has a Glock 18, with half a second of ammunition in the magazine, which he uses as a part of an escape scenario which I found I could not suspend belief for. Weak.

But the worst part was the scene inside the helicopter. The tallest point of the interior of an EC135 is just under 4’ 2”, just behind the pilot seats. Further back it is 3’ 9”. The pilot seats reach almost all the way to the roof. In Executive and VIP configurations, even that space does not exist. But, even assuming a more utilitarian setup I don’t think even the five foot girl would have got through. Weak.

Then he reached the foot pedal while upside down to stop the rotation? And he was able to bring it to a hover over water at night? And he found the engine switches? Why “land” on water, he had done the hard parts?

I’ve ranted enough. I have some experience with aircraft, your mileage my vary(!).

I'm still looking forward to the next Gray man book!

[I read a paperback edition (Berkeley Books, October 2011, 467p, Trade) which I bought for my brother and borrowed for this review.]
Displaying 1 - 30 of 724 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.