Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Book Review: 'First Strike' by R.J. Patterson
Pacific Northwest author Jack Patterson writes with the verve that accompanies good journalism: he has written articles for some of our major newspapers such as The New York Times and is the recipient of many journalistic awards. That acumen is evident in his book THE WARREN OMISSIONS (five have dealt with sports, Patterson's obsession since childhood), a mystery thriller with the JFK assassination and controversy at its core. Now Patterson opens a new series – a Brady Hawk Novel, Book 1 – and we are introduced to yet another ongoing highly skilled creation of a character whom we want to follow. Brady Hawk is an operative whose skills and derring-do match any of those committed to books to this date – he is the United States’ top assassin.
One of the many positive aspects of Jack Patterson's books is ability to engage the reader from the first paragraph and then sustain that level of interest until the story is complete. Nowhere is that gift more important than in writing mystery thrillers. For a taste of this new series (a very timely one), the opening of the book follows: ‘Present Day Zaranj, Afghanistan - Brady Hawk jammed a magazine clip into his P226 pistol and set it down on the dusty table. He stared at it for a second, pondering the twisted path that led him to this moment, the one where he geared himself up to go on a killing spree. The last time he’d been in this godforsaken part of the world he was helping people in a substantial way— not masquerading as an English teacher, but getting down in the sand and helping the people who needed it most. This time his help was less tangible but far more important. Hawk concluded the only thing that had really changed was his tactics. Digging wells and teaching people different methods of irrigation were helpful, but it was useless if they were about to be killed by 21st Century marauders who conjured up the spirit of Genghis Kahn. He’d help them again more tangibly in due time. But in the world now, there were more pressing matters— specifically, a terrorist group named Al Hasib. Hawk stepped over the dead body in the middle of his kitchen and strode toward the bathroom. Hawk brushed the dust off the mirror and stared at the man in front of him. Despite his reluctance, his eyes went directly to the scar on the right side of his forehead, a constant reminder of why he was here. His scraggly beard fell well past his neck, a symbol of his feeble attempt to blend into life here. Despite his disdain for the region’s troublemakers, he’d managed to temper his anger, hiding in plain sight— until now.’ And in that short opener Jack has our complete attention held to the last page.
The synopsis: ‘With ruthless terrorist cells multiplying by the day, the head of the snake must be cut off—and Brady Hawk swings a sharp ax. Realizing the ineffectiveness of America’s own counter terrorism unit, Texas senator J.D. Blunt proposes a black ops program that’s so off the books that only a handful of people know about it. Given the reins and funding to construct his own organization, Blunt creates Firestorm and recruits one of the most effective operatives the American government has ever known: Brady Hawk. Working with D.C.-based handler Alex Duncan, Hawk learns the location of the chief bomb maker for the terrorist group Al Hasib and enters into a race against the clock to eliminate him as well as the man behind the cell before they destroy a key U.S. target. But that’s not all Hawk learns. As the son of the world’s most renowned weapons manufacturer, Hawk must also come to terms that maybe his father isn’t who he thinks he is—and neither is Blunt.’
Another thriller from the talented Jack Patterson. Grady Harp, June 16
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