Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Review: Relentless by Mark Greaney

by Mark Greaney
Release Date: February 16th 2021
2021 Berkley
Kindle & Audiobook Editions; 496 Pages
ISBN: 978-0593098950
Audiobook: B08HDN9JVQ
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher
4.5/5 Stars
Intelligence operatives around the world are disappearing. When a missing American agent re- appears in Venezuela, Court Gentry, the Gray Man, is dispatched to bring him in, but a team of assassins has other ideas. Court escapes with his life and a vital piece of intelligence.

Meanwhile, CIA agent Zoya Zakharova is in Berlin. Her mission: to infiltrate a private intelligence firm with some alarming connections. The closer she gets to answers, the less likely she is to get out alive.

Court and Zoya are just two pieces on this international chessboard, and they're about to discover one undeniable truth--sometimes capturing a king requires sacrificing some pawns.
My Thoughts
Relentless is the tenth book in the Gray Man series, and if I thought this series was going to lose momentum at some point, this book definitely proved me wrong by the fifth chapter.  I don't know how he does it, or where he gets his ideas, but this book was intricately plotted; there was so much going on you needed to pay attention to everything.
* Some small spoilers, but only if you have not read the previous entry in the series.* 
I really enjoy the characters in this series, including Court, Zoya, Hanley, and Zack.  I do read in fear sometimes, that one of them is going to die, but it doesn't stop me from reading these books.  What I particularly enjoy about these stories are the vulnerabilities of the characters.  Court is not afraid to admit that someone else is better at something and allows that person to take the lead, if necessary.  As we know, Court was injured quite badly in the previous book, but Matt is desperate for his help so sends him out in the field injured. I like how the book shows his limitations due to his injuries and the interactions between Court and the doctor as she makes him realize he is not a robot, but a human with limitations.  And it is this human side that definitely draws me to this series as much as the action.
And there was plenty of action.  This one was more team-oriented rather than solo-oriented, and I am definitely at a loss as to which one I like better.  All of the agents were in play in Berlin, and because of this, secondary story lines also came into play which could be a bit confusing if you are not familiar with previous story arcs, although the author described the situations enough for a newbie reader to at least grasp what was happening.   
And the plot was relentless, using a term used frequently in the book.  It pretty much exploded from the beginning and didn't let up until the end, with twists and turns where you thought this was happening, then realized it was actually this happening.  So many underlying threads.  And this is brilliant writing by the author who managed to pull all those threads together.  And with one story arc sort of finished in this book, another one is now set up to get us going for future books. And this is where this author excels as he has turned everything upside down and basically changed the rules of the established order.  I don't think I was prepared for what happened at the end.  
If I have one criticism about this book, it has to do with Suzanne Brewer.  For a bunch of brilliant people, and a bunch of super spies/assassins/agents, they really have no idea what she is up to?  This has been a story line that has been building for a while, and I would love to see it come to fruition at some point, hopefully with her dumped on her ass.

Relentless was a great addition to the Gray Man series.  With the team together, there was an additional layer of intrigue added that I particularly enjoyed.  And then I learned that Netflix was making a film based on the first book in this series starring Chris Evans and Ryan Gosling (Court) and I was thrilled. This should increase exposure to the series, not that it needs it, but any attention will hopefully allow Mark the luxury of continuing this great series.  For now, I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Sierra Six, when it releases in February 2022.