Whiff of Die Hard | BookishFirst

Whiff of Die Hard

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An on the run tried and convicted war criminal, Laszlo Antonov has an international Red Notice warrant on him and UK officials think he is hiding out in London. After a mission to capture him goes bust, he's on the move again. Tom Buckingham was part of the SAS force that tried to capture him and after his night gets extended with another commitment to the Regiment and his brothers in arms, he finds out that his girlfriend Delphine is leaving him. Not wanting to let her go, he races to make the Eurostar train she's on, and passes none other than Antonov on the same train. Hostage situations, bombs, guns, and war criminals are nothing new to Tom but this time, the love of his life is in the mix.

With a prologue that starts in 1996 and from the pov of Antonov, the author set-up a heartless villain that had no problem killing children and raping woman, while also throwing in a mystery Englishman to plant a double crosser seed. Antonov is South Ossetian and his hate of Georgians killing his countrymen sent him on the path of being funded by the Russians for a paramilitary group that gets dubbed the “Black Bears”. Later in the book, readers also learn that Antonov was secretly supported by some UK officials because of an oil pipeline and was in fact trained by SAS forces. He's a villain that brings the violence, double-crossing, and government conspiracies.

Surprisingly, I didn't feel as if I knew our hero Tom as well. This is the first book in a series, so some of Tom could be held back but I never felt like we really penetrate his personality. There are some flashback scenes interchanged with the current action that show how him and Delphine met, their relationship, some moments with his teammates, and his parents but he mostly still came off wooden to me. Later on when he's working to put a stop to Antonov and save Delphine, we get some more emotion but I still felt I couldn't pick him out of a military fiction line-up; he doesn't quite spark enough to want to follow along in a continuing series.

The beginning was a little bit rough to get through, there is a lot of jargon, acronyms, and lingo (described and explained) that I'm sure is second-hand for the author but for the uninitiated it was a bit much to start off with and try to retain and get involved with. The chapters were very short, which I thought worked for all the pov changes we get but, along with some of the flashbacks scenes, there were a couple misplaced because they cut into the action flow and stalled any suspense and thriller feelings that were building. I also thought that the decision to have Antonov's character, somewhat, grudgingly grow to respect Delphine and drag her along, ruined the previous work done to set-up him up to be so ruthless. Any child killings began to feel more for simple shock factor instead of character building.

As for the series, this left some dangling threads, political maneuverings, double-crossing, and the start of a revenge plot for Tom to follow. With a whiff of Die Hard, I can see why this is going to be made into a movie and I do think it will translate over well.