Monday, April 19, 2010

Hawk Review

Hawk by Brian Neary

(from the back of the book)

After a terrifying chase through the alleys of France, an eminent U.S. scientist faces death on a Paris rooftop at the hands of a mysterious assassin. CIA agents deem it a random act of violence.

Simultaneously, in the U.S., a terrorist bomber places a massive charge of C4 explosive in Minnesota’s Mall of America and a 50 lb. bomb under the Mormon’s Winter Quarters in Omaha. Undetected, he’s heading for the Staples Center in Los Angeles. His Jihadist partners expect the combined detonations to yield more than 700,000 dead Americans.

Young CIA agent, Quentin Hawk, a former pro athlete with a bum knee, a high I.Q. and a bad attitude, is the only person who sees the connection. As the seconds tick down, Hawk must find a solution before the explosions detonate a horrifying national disaster.

There is a lot going on here in different places, with different agencies and different groups with different agendas but as the story progresses it all coalesces and comes together. I like how Neary brings us back into the lives of the people involved so we can see how they got to where they are today, so we can see what has brought this group of vastly different characters to all be players in this one moment in time. The Hawk from the title is Quentin Hawk who works for the CIA but it is easy to forget that the book is about him since it tends to focus on Lukas Towne more than it does Hawk. There are some interesting characters here that had real potential but sometimes they were just too much. Like they were personifications of a type instead of real people and sometimes lacked subtlety and complexity. And they all want to be the one on top. So many times when you have two characters meet there is a chest thumping shouting match about who is in control and what they are in control of and who can tell who what to do and who needs who’s help and… It becomes juvenile in the characters, tedious to listen to as the reader and some times seems to take the spotlight off the plot and slows the pace. There are some true moments of tension and suspense. Some brought about because as the reader you know more information than the people you are reading about and just have to hope they figure it out. Others simply because Neary makes the threat of terrorists among us real and has the reader convinced that no one is safe. At the end the action comes quickly with a few twists that I didn’t see coming. It had its fun moments and I did want to keep reading to find out how it all worked out. But I think that it ran a little long and there were a few scenes that could have been shortened or maybe ever left out entirely.

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