Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Review: The Treadstone Exile by Joshua Hood

by Joshua Hood 
Release Date: February 2nd 2021
2021 G.P. Putnam's Sons
Kindle Edition; 400 Pages
ISBN: 978-0525542629
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

After the revival of Operation Treadstone, former agent Adam Hayes has retreated to Africa, determined to leave behind the black-ops CIA program behind for good. As a former Treadstone operative, Hayes knows just how destructive the program can be, as it turns government agents into nearly superhuman assassins. But his quiet life in Africa changes irrevocably, when, while attempting to complete a charitable mission in Burkina Faso, Hayes is attacked by extremists. Forced to make an unexpected landing, his plane is damaged and he is left in a hornet's nest of trouble.

In order to get back in the air, Hayes agrees to transport a passenger--Zoe Cabot, the daughter of a tech baron--to a small coastal city. But just after Hayes completes his flight, Zoe is kidnapped. During his search for Zoe, Hayes funs afoul of multiple enemies, including a rogue Treadstone operative, all of whom are searching for him--and for the information about a wire transfer of millions of dollars bound for the relief effort in Burkina Faso. In an action-packed, twisty showdown, Hayes must outrun the factions that are hunting him, and prevent the theft of the much-needed millions from one of Africa's poorest nations.
My Thoughts
The Treadstone Exile is the second book in the Treadstone series, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  After the events of the previous book, Adam has been pretty much kicked out of the U.S. and has retreated to Africa, and when we meet him again, one of his first thoughts is that he is proud that he has not killed anyone in over five months.  This would not make sense unless you were familiar with the Treadstone universe and the intense training he received as an assassin while in the program, something he is trying really hard to leave behind him.   I found this thought intriguing, the inner monologue one of the things I enjoyed so much about the first book.

I enjoy Adam as a main character, and his inner monologue makes me smile a lot of the time as it's so sarcastic.  And while on the outside he presents as this tough assassin who is almost frightening in his invincibility, the inner monologue makes him human and empathetic, something I really appreciated.  He goes from killer machine to psychologically distressed throughout the book, but only the reader has full insight into this distress.  I also like how he doesn't just jump into the role of a killing machine, but tries really hard to avoid killing people if possible; it is rather refreshing to read a book that is not just multiple shoot-em-up scenes, although there were plenty of those too, just not necessarily caused by Adam. 
The other characters in the book weren't quite as developed as Adam. so I just had a passing interest in them, other than Shaw with whom I am rather intrigued.  There is a story there that is begging to be told, but I am not quite sure what it is.  

I also have to say that I love the descriptions of the various arsenal that was used this book as I have a very limited knowledge of guns and things that go boom.  And I am married to a guy who has served in the armed forces for thirty years, and have watched countless thrillers as well as read them.  Sorry, my eyes roll back into my head whenever hubby yells at the tv because there is no way that gun can be shot that way without kickback as I just don't care; it was all about the action for me.  However, when an author can explain things  in layman's terms so that I can picture it in my mind, I love it. 

The story itself was mostly written from Adam's POV, but there were times when the story was interrupted to show others POV, such as Shaw and Carpenter.  I didn't mind learning more about what was happening in Washington, but it did have a tendency to slow down the story, and it really gave away too much of the story, especially Carpenter's.  One of the advantages to a good thriller is not necessarily knowing who are the good and bad guys as well as having issues shrouded in grey.  When it's too much 'us against them', it can get a bit dreary.  

What the author has done though, it take a concept and twist it to make it his own, and it works.  The writing style works very well, and he has created a main character that is very likeable, but is still deadly, with plenty of action and intrigue.  I really feel like this book, and the previous one, have simply just laid the foundation for what should be some interesting times ahead for Adam and Shaw. 
The Treadstone Exile was well-written, and the author's writing style definitely has a way of pulling you into the story.  I enjoyed Adam as a main character and thought he developed quite nicely, but didn't really feel much for the secondary characters, especially Zoe.  The plot was a bit disjointed at times, and I had to re-read sections because I thought I had missed something important.  Despite this, I am still looking forward to the next book in this series as the story was definitely set up with another one in mind.  


  1. It sounds like the Bourne world still expands.

    1. I am finding these more interesting at the moment than the Jack Ryan JR world. I am going to give Jack JR one more shot as I was given another ARC, but I have been enjoying this series and the other Bourne series that just started.