Reviewed by Ian Lipke
If your taste is for action stories, this book is for you. It has a hero with all the martial arts skills that fifteen years of service among his country’s elite service people can teach him. Following a helicopter crash that killed his mates, our hero Vincent seeks the quiet life. But life butts up against him. He takes a job as bodyguard to a supermarket millionaire.
If at this point you’re beginning to recognise the author’s quirky sense of humour then you’re in the zone. Jason Bourne might have had heaps of trouble with Treadstone, rest assured that his troubles were but skirmishes by comparison with Vincent’s woes. Not that there are any complaints from our hero, he simply smashes his way through his opposition.
Some readers have compared Ben Sanders with Raymond Chandler, Lee Child and Elmore Leonard. This places Sanders among the finest writers of this genre. Sanders is exceptionally good. His hero’s approach to dealing with criminals is fashioned on Lee Child. Direct confrontation makes good theatre.
Vincent is a tough piece of work when we first come across him. At the end he is just as tough but has let the love of a woman enter the eaves of his heart. Immersed in love for his ex-employer’s daughter, Erin, he finds that she is no shrinking violet. She loves to take the lead, whether in lovemaking or in danger if her action should hasten a solution.
Those who love the anticipation of danger, who prefer a little sex in the telling may be in two minds about this read. The danger is overt – ever present, ever visible, a tool to allow the plot to develop. Sex is simply an affirmation of the obvious respect each partner has for the other.
Some readers will not like this book. Erin is not above killing if by so doing she can sign off on a series of uncomfortable actions. Vincent, knowing she has killed, is unconcerned. The key to the story is that it is pure make believe and has never been anything other than a piece to entertain. The thought that a millionaire supermarket owner would require protection from gangsters is an outlandish notion. That Gutierrez would be so wholly evil is unlikely in real life. Who can forget the passage where Vincent delivers a dissertation on the job of bodyguard?
And then, the first and final teaser: who are the devils you know?
An excellent read.
By Ben Sanders
A & U
$29.99; 336 pp