I never heard of the urban exploration scene … so from the start, this was all new to me. Never Go Alone starts with a gang of them, accessing a penthouse to steal. I gotta admit, I’m terrified of heights, so some of the things they did were enough to make my heart stop. Doesn’t help them one bit that one of the folks they hit is one of the richest, most influential people in the city.
We move on to Jake Rivett, who’s working undercover to bust a group doing bank heists. Things don’t turn out the way he wanted and he’s furious with his boss. Still, he picks up the new case and goes under to meet and catch the group of urban explorer thieves.
I didn’t read book one about Jake, Flash Crash, and while I very much enjoy this book, I think it might have helped. There are quite a few characters in the book and I suspect there’s a lot of backstory that would have helped me understand some of the dynamics. Still, I managed to get some pretty quick ideas of who I liked and who I didn’t.
Jake was also a tough hero for me. He thrives on being undercover and would likely shrivel and die behind a desk. He reminds me a little of Dexter (from the TV show), where he has a propensity for something that’s bad, but channels it into something that has higher moral ground. I may not have always agreed with his behavior, but it was always for the greater good. Jake has all the makings of a great criminal, which is why he’s so good undercover. Don’t get me wrong, he also has a very distinctive sense of right and wrong.
The action here is pretty much non-stop. There is so much going on, that sometimes I got a little lost and had to reread to make sure I got it. Also, there are times when the author slows the action by stopping to explain something; for example at the beginning, he stopped to explain oxy-acetylene bombings, what they were, how they worked. Not that I didn’t appreciate the knowledge, but it did stop forward movement at bit. This happened now and then throughout.
Still, all-in-all Never Go Alone is, at its heart, a race to the end. And there are some surprises there, at the end. I’m sure some of them will make the next book even more interesting. If you’re looking for a complex, action-packed story with a man who’s a little bit of an anti-hero, I think you’ll like this one. However, you might want to try Flash Crash first.
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