Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Book Review: 'Twist and Turn (Kyle Achilles #4)' by Tim Tigner
Tim Tigner at his peak!
The movie star handsome, ‘man’s man’ Tim Tigner comes to his role as a novelist specializing in political intrigue with a rich background. His academic preparation is a combination of mathematics and philosophy with psychology and radiology, but after academia his instinct for investigation and thrill seeking led him to serve in the Green Berets, specializing in Russian and Soviet counterintelligence. When Perestroika/Glasnost ‘opened’ Russia (or at least by their definition made it more transparent) led to the fall of the Berlin wall, Tigner’s direction shifted from espionage to arbitrage and he moved form Russia to Brussels where he witnessed the formation of the European Union: his change in focus shifted back to the US and further degrees in business and International Studies and settled in the Silicon Valley as a corporate type in the medical device industry. And as if that background weren’t sufficient he continued his travels around the world expending energy as scuba diver, skier, actor, mountain climber, a hand glider, a parachuter, and in every sense of the word an adventurer. Now he follows his obsession with reading thrillers by writing them.
Having read most of Tim’s novels it always comes a surprise that he doesn’t repeat himself. There are ‘recipe format espionage books’ – keep one central character everyone recognizes then populate the story with the expected clones of ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ people. That is where Tim steps aside like a matador and creates each novel with a fresh outlook and cast. And so evolved the Kyle Achilles series of which this is Book 4.
For those throngs who have been following Tim’s Kyle Achilles books then be prepared for what is in this reader's opinion is the best of the four – and that is a tough classifying decision. But simply step into the opening page of TWIST AND TURN and that decision becomes obvious – ‘Was I dead? Had I died? If this was the afterlife, then I’d been deemed lacking. Less than sufficient, or sub-saintly at least. I had killed. The Lord knew that Kyle Achilles had violated the Sixth Commandment on more than one occasion—therefore I shouldn’t be surprised by His judgment. But I was. I guess I’d expected an exception. A pass. A nod. My kills had been righteous, after all. For the greater good. I’d dedicated much of my life to fighting the honorable fight. The battle where the good had to do bad to win. And Katya. Poor Katya. She was now alone again. I’d failed her … somehow. These thoughts all raced around my mind, bouncing off the walls and sending reverberations through my soul, in two sticky blinks of my crusty eyes. I continued blinking as my other senses shucked off slumber and attempted to tune in to the waking world. A new world. A world like none I’d known before. My eyes gave me nothing. Literally nothing. They funneled no information through my optic nerves and into my brain. They didn’t hurt. They didn’t feel different. They just reported black, like a television without power. Was that it? Had someone or something used a drug to pull the plug? To chemically sever a connection? As logical as that seemed, my mind didn’t buy in. It took a different turn because my ears were also off-kilter. Strain as I might, I heard nothing beyond my own biology—and the breathing of others. Not a sound.’
Couple these harrowing facts with Tigner’s gift for transplanting his characters into situations that seem destined to destruction and yet manipulating them out with keen pacing and skill and there you have yet another thriller by the gifted Tim Tigner. He writes so well that one could quite easily become addicted. Smart, sophisticated and always with a surprise at the turn of every page, Tigner simply has it.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.