Monday, September 6, 2021

Review: Shadow Target by David Ricciardi

by David Ricciardi
Release Date:  June 15, 2021
2021 Berkley
Kindle Edition; 3223 Pages
ISBN: 978-1984804693
Audiobook: B08KWLH4BX
Genre: Fiction / Thriller
Source: Review copy from publisher
4 / 5 Stars
When his small plane crashes in the Alps, Jake is the only survivor. A rescue helicopter soon arrives, but the men inside are not there to save anyone. They are determined to complete the murderous job they started.
Jake escapes from the mountainside deathtrap, but it won't be the only attempt on his life. If he's to have any chance at surviving, he'll have to find out who's behind the killings. But the circle of people Jake can trust is distressingly small as he suspects that someone inside the Agency is feeding his every move to the very people who are trying to end his life.

Jake's quest takes him to the candle-lit cathedrals of Paris and the rain-slicked streets of London. He makes contact with old friends and new enemies along the way—but his true nemesis may be closer than he imagines.
My Thoughts
Shadow Target is the next entry in the Jake Keller series, and I enjoyed it tremendously.  I find this series is deceptive in its storytelling as it seems simple in its concepts and in its story lines, but there is an underlying depth and deception that has been there since the first book and I am curious as to how it will all play out in the end.  If you've read the previous instalments, this one is a bit different, and although I was a bit skeptical at first about where it was headed, it soon picked up and I read the rest in one sitting.  
I enjoy Jake as a main character and this book really picked up on his character development as we learned a lot more about his past and how it has affected his present as well as his psychological state. There was a lot of introspection about his personal life and how so much was stolen from him because of previous situations and while I wasn't sure how to take all of this, it definitely worked in the end.  Seeing this side of Jake made you much more empathetic towards his character and some of the hard choices he has to make while doing his job and the impact those choices have on his psyche.  It was rather interesting.
One of the strengths of these books is Jake's willingness to work with other people and I always like it when previous characters show up in these books.  I think part of this is the author's way of showing that everyone needs to feel connected to someone else no matter the job they do and I found this kind of intriguing, this exploration of human connection and the toll the lack thereof can have on a human body.  Very subtle piece of writing, but it did make me think about a lot of things.
At first I wasn't sure about the plot as it didn't seem the same as in previous novels; it felt much more like a suspense novel with a huge mystery twist to it rather than a full-on thriller.  Despite Jake's having to avoid a few attempts on his life, the first half was more contemplative. But then, bang! It picks right back up, with a twist I should have expected but didn't (probably because I was paying too much attention to the relationship issues), and things were right back into what I would expect from this author and a thriller novel.  There was also a lot of subtle intrigue, some of it carrying over from previous books, ones that I don't know if a reader new to the series would pick up on unless familiar with the earlier books and the situations that created them, intrigues that will continue in future books.  

Shadow Target is definitely one of my new favourite thriller series (right up there with the Orphan X books), and while this one started a bit differently than the previous instalments, it was still as strong as previous entries.  I like that the author can be versatile in his writing style and still write intricate plot twists and relatable characters.  While this could be read on its own, I do recommend reading them all in order to get a good understanding of the relationships and political goings-on that were only lightly explained  And while this book does have a satisfactory ending, there are some intrigues that will definitely be continuing in the next book and I can't wait to see how it all plays out.