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These are exciting books, well written and fleshed out. Despite revisiting a plot by Tess Gerritsen (Harvest), involving a weird genetic syndrome worthy of Jeffery Deaver, and sounding like many special ops tales, Hong Kong Black holds its own. We seem to love the theme of an ex-ranger, ex-seal, ex-black operator who keeps getting sucked back into the world he tries to leave. We love Langford, the bitchy, craggy CIA chief who causes Nick so much trouble. We also love Zhang, the Chinese SF guy, and Dash, the epidemiologist doctor who is really smart and tough. We love to hate the bad guy because he is just, oh, so bad. And I guess we love the world conspiracies because we keep reading them!
I would like to taste a little more Chinese flavor in the Hong Kong and Beijing scenes. I thought that setting his stories here meant that Alex Ryan really knows these places, but I'm not feeling it. It's too superficial, too like someone else filled in the locales and names. I want to see the laundry flapping, hear the hawkers, smell the street cart food, see the many faces. (I felt it more when Harry Bosch went there.) However, the Beijing underground city is awesome, although it's hard to tell how realistic it is since the official version is bound to differ from the criminal version. I look forward to more of Nick Foley (Is he Pat Foley's ((Tom Clancy)) son or nephew?) and anything from Alex Ryan.
MA's narrations are always good. His separation of voices is superb, and the voices he chooses match the characters' personalities. Here he does great Chinese accents without succumbing to cliche or stereotype. He did forget that one of the girls had studied in Ireland and had more Irish than Chinese pronunciation, but we can live with that. And his pronunciation of Chinese people's place names is near enough to perfect that it doesn't hurt the ears of those who know!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Not only is this book a great thriller, with terrific pacing, riveting suspense, and moments of touching romance, it avoids clichés and takes on geopolitics in a profound way, never afraid of retaining it's integrity and treating it's readers with respect. It manages to deliver a guaranteed escapist genre read AND still take on bold, relevant intellectual topics that will expand both the compassion and understanding of it's readers. I am grateful when authors entertain us while still managing to help educate us to the real challenges in the world beyond our gatekeeping illusions and artificial social consensus.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful