by Mark Greaney brings back the Gray Man, a former paramilitary
officer with an agenda. Anyone looking for characters and
plotlines in the fashion of Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp
series should read this book. It discusses intelligence organizational
politics, technology possibilities, and has a main character
whose job it is to assassinate bad guys. The plot is spellbinding
and riveting with non-stop action.
The Gray Man, Court Gentry, has been away from the US for
five years. He has returned to find out why his former agency,
the CIA, has turned on him, putting a “kill on sight
order.” Realizing he can trust no one he must stay one
step ahead of those targeting him. As bodies pile up Court
is blamed for all the deaths, even those he is not responsible
for; yet, the Gray Man has the ability to outthink and outgun
those hunting for him.
The characters are captivating. Court Gentry morally does
not wear the black or white hat. But readers root for him,
knowing that all his missions were necessary to keep Americans
safe. This book gives insight into the personality of Court.
Layers of his past are revealed, which allows the readers
to understand this very complex character. Over the years
he has matured and has become wiser, less trusting, and more
fatalistic. At times he is the hunter searching for his prey,
but soon he becomes the hunted. What makes this character
so fascinating is his ability to take the offense when he
should be on the run.
Regarding the firearms scenes, Greaney says he owned “a
lot of weapons the characters use in my books. In researching
this book I did a lot of firearms training with the leading
arms instructor for naval special warfare. I also trained
with a bunch of SWAT guys who had me be a part of the opposition
force. The SWAT team came into a dark house with their flashlights
to shoot me with paint balls. I was sore for weeks. Friends
of mine are tactical officers whose brains I picked for a
Contrast that with Denney Carmichael, the Director of the
National Clandestine Service. His attitude learned, from his
Vietnam days, is kill or be killed. Wanting to climb the ladder
in the Agency, his ambitions dictated his desire to eliminate
anything construed as negative, including Court. By creating
this elaborate frame up of the Gray Man Carmichael is able
to deflect criticism off of himself, and protect what he construes
as national security.
An interesting character brought in to make the story more
realistic is the reporter Catherine King. Readers will be
reminded of Sharyl Attkisson. Someone who searches for the
truth while uncovering a story, that has no agenda other than
finding the facts and the reasons behind why events unfold.
These days there are not many reporters whom people can respect,
but King fits into that mold.
Greaney commented, “Catherine King was based on some
real national security reporters. What the Gray Man had done
all over the world is now happening in Washington DC. I thought
it would be interesting to have reporters trying to figure
out what is going on and how the press would deal with it.
I think Catherine has a lot of integrity. My father was in
TV news, head of the NBC affiliate in Tennessee. Because of
his experience I felt a deep understanding of the media since
I have been around it.”
Back Blast is one of those books where readers will
not want to put it down. Many of the details are very realistic
and the thrilling action will keep people glued to the pages.
Anyone interested in an espionage spy novel should read this