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2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Jill Elizabeth has read 25 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Book Review: Second Strike by Peter Kirsanow

I just LOVE this series… Mike Garin is such a great hero – he’s Superman who thinks he’s Everyman, except when he doesn’t. And in this second installment, he finally seems willing to (grudgingly) admit that he is not like everyone else.

The action is thick on the ground, the pacing is great, and the characters are very compelling. I love the black/white, good/evil comparisons between Garin and Toras Bor. Rarely, these days, is it so easy to know who the good guys are – and it is unusual to have a bad guy who is so unrepentantly, irredeemably bad. I keep waiting for Kirsanow to try to humanize him – at which point I’ll roll my eyes and stop reading. I like the old-school spy thriller conflict of Good v. Evil; it’s engaging, entertaining, and there are enough other characters and opportunities for the “who are they, are they *really* good/bad/indifferent” drama that keeps you guessing from page to page. I really enjoy having the contrast between that ambiguity and the Garin/Bor dichotomy.

And am I the only one who is DYING to know who The Patrician is?! I keep thinking we’ll get a teaser or hint big enough to clue me in, but if there has been one I’ve totally missed it… He’s this fantastic “banality of evil” malevolent presence underpinning everything, and you just know that finding out who it is will blow up everything! I have a few guesses, but that’s all they are – Kirsanow has done a marvelous job at keeping this secret. It’s rare to have someone stay so blind two books in – and even rarer that it’s not annoying or forced, but feels completely natural in the flow of the narrative.

If you like your thrillers full of action, suspense, secrets, and cabals conspiring against everyone, definitely give this one a look. The writing is strong and crisp and perfectly matches the tone and tenor the story establishes. The characters are engaging and a great mix of human and superhuman. The individual plot of each book is a thoroughly enjoyable and exceptionally well-plotted and -paced story, but the build-up between them is also managed brilliantly and really keeps me engaged.

My review copy was provided by the Penguin First to Read program.

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