If you rate Reacher, hunger for Hunter or crave Carver then you’ll vote for Victor. He is a one man murder weapon. He’ll use a gun, a knife or his bare hands so long as he gets the job done. Thoroughly unrepentant about his work, he kills with impunity and without question although spares innocents where possible.
It would be very easy for me to write this whole review by comparing him to some of the other characters in this same genre so I’m going to try to avoid that save for these comments. He doesn’t have Sam Carver’s morality for only taking out targets he deems worthy of death, he reminds me most of Mark Burnell’s Petra O’Connor aka Stephanie Patrick for the icily cold way he dispatches his targets and then moves on with his day.
The action starts in Paris before ricocheting across Europe and Africa at breakneck pace. Never is the reader allowed to sit back and relax before they are plunged into the next action sequence. For example, I was fifty pages in before the opening scene had finished and the body count was already approaching double figures. This book isn’t high octane, its rocket fuel on steroids and somebody has just spilt its pint!
My favourite aspect of the whole novel was the way that Wood explained Victor’s thought processes and actions while in battle, which really gave an extra dimension to the whole feel of the book. Some would compare this facet to the way Lee Child explains things with Reacher but I earlier said I wouldn’t write a review of comparisons. There is only one Victor; The reader, who now has another hero to champion.
Despite his cold nature I found myself liking Victor greatly as he brooked no nonsense, had supreme confidence in his abilities yet lived with the constant fear that encapsulates all hit men, namely that one day he will wind up on somebody’s hit list and therefore he lives a solitary lifestyle with constant looks over his shoulder and a myriad of precautions to ensure his own survival and anonymity. Rebecca is a fine foil to his brutality and she softens him somewhat. Reed is another ice cold killer sent after him which leads to a wonderful denouement and the scheming CIA men of Sykes, Ferguson and Proctor are replicated by the Russian SVR officers Aniskovach and Prudnikov.
The large cast list means only one thing; action and lots of it as various parties vie for supremacy in a battle-royal which could threaten the balance of power as we know it. The plot is created carefully and is used as a device for bringing the action scenes together, although it is highly credible. The prose is sharp and to the point, setting the scene for the adventure to unfold before the reader.