Ballistic: A Gray Man Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Ex-CIA assassin Court Gentry thought he could find refuge living in the Amazon rain forest. But his bloody past finds him when a vengeful Russian crime lord forces him to go on the run once again. Court makes his way to one of the only men in the world he can trust - and arrives too late. His friend is dead and buried.
Years before, Eddie Gamboa had saved Court's life. Now, Eddie has been murdered by the notorious Mexican drug cartel he fought to take down. And Court soon finds himself drawn into a war he never wanted. But in this war, there are no sides - only survivors....
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|Listening Length||14 hours and 8 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 10, 2011|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #3,012 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#33 in Political Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#44 in Espionage Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#49 in Action Thriller & Suspense Fiction
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Top reviews from the United States
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One passage talks about fuses to an electrical torture device "shorting out." Fuses ARE electrical "shorts" so-to-speak. When the fail, they "open."
In another passage "breaks" are applied in a vehicle. The correct spelling is "brakes."
In yet another passage about a Eurocopter the bad guy is "jacking the collective left and right." That would be the cyclic. The collective controls the main rotor blade pitch. Us helo pilots call collective the "up-down-go faster stick."
All in all, a great read though
As in previous Gray Man novels Court is put into impossible situations from which escape seems implausible yet, spoiler alert, he does escape. You know this anyway because there are many more Gray Man books in the series. This book is a thriller in every sense of the word. The reader is kept interested, the pace is fast and the tension is intense. The supporting cast is colorful and add nicely to the story. This is not a book for the faint of heart as the descriptions of the goings on are graphic and gory. I highly recommend this book to those who enjoy thrillers.
The biggest development in the story arc in this edition of the Gray Man novels is that Gentry goes all in to protect and defend the wife of his late friend. He will ultimately come to be known as the deadly operative with a strict moral code - and this novel highlights that this is a man with a heart as well as a deadly warrior. It delivers on several levels.
I'm becoming a fan.
Top reviews from other countries
1. The only worthwhile part of every paragraph is the first line. So you may as well just read every first line and skip the rest.
2. The main character is referred to by 3 different names, and one fake name the whole way through the book. Wtf is the point, give the guy a name and stick to it, and preferably don't choose a crap one like grey man. It's not mysterious, it's rubbish.
3. The story is predictable and the action scenes are long and drawn out. The parts designed to create tension are completely unrealistic, with unrealistic conversations and unrealistic outcomes.
4. The story is littered with highschool spanish words randomly interjected in the story and immediately translated to english serving no purpose at all. It's really cringe.
5. The actions of the main character are completely unrealistic
6. The love scene is equally unrealistic and corny.
Save yourself the time, and skip this one. It's really not worth the time or effort.
Unfortunately, it suffers from one big flaw: the body count. In real life, killing someone is, for most people, a major emotional event. Soldiers have to be trained hard to get them to kill their fellow human beings at close range. The history of many wars shows that a lot of soldiers preferred not to fire their guns than to kill some other mother's son. Clancy understood this; major incidents apart, a few bad guys die in less than a line of text, but many deaths in his books are major events which create emotional ripples of various kinds.
Greaney's Gray Man, however, scatters bodies left, right and centre. He's portrayed as a good guy driven to desperate measures, but his default response to any crisis seems to be to waste the people in his way. I can't take enjoyment from an author who has so little respect for human life, even in fiction. I gave the book away to a charity shop.
After an explosive start the pace slows down, but it picks up again and the final third of the book is particularly enjoyable. It's very much a "suspend your disbelief" kind of read: the villain is laughably unbelievable, the romantic sub-plot has zero plausibility and the ability of the small family unit to withstand attack is highly unlikely. Despite these facts, it's entirely readable because the action is swift, the hero is likeable and the action scenes are written in such a way that you can tell Greaney has done his research.
It's a constant issue with thrillers these days, trying to strike the right balance between fast paced action that will keep us relentlessly turning the pages, whilst still giving us characters we can care about and a plotline that doesn't become entirely ludicrous. Greaney probably errs too much towards the former camp for my liking, but if you want a fast paced, disengage-your-brain read, you could do a lot worse.
The author writes very fast moving action thrillers and it can be too easy to resort to comic book shallowness, but Greaney has researched his subject and provides plot and motivation to link his many action scenes. In Ballistic, Gentry wants to keep running ahead of his many pursuers, but decided to make a stand with the family of a murdered friend knowing he will become a target for not just the cartels but everyone else too.
This is a fast paced, no holding back action thriller where The Gray Man's skills are put to the test as he traditionally is a lone player, having the baggage of others to look after takes him well out of his comfort zone. This is uncompromising and has one or two areas that are slightly squeamish but also in keeping with the situations being presented by the author. Greaney writes well and has the art of making you want to keep turning the page, but also manages to not go over the top in terms of the implausible or the overly improbable. This is a welcome addition to the Gray Man series and further indication of how the author is growing in confidence and comfort with his character. Minor quibbles might be that when Gentry's location is outed in this, the teams of assassins that have been chasing him fail to flood in after him, likewise there is a character rather too easily dismissed into an unlikely area towards the end, it felt like too easy a way of leaving Gentry free for his next adventure. But those are minor comments and do not reduce the considerable enjoyment of the book.
The book ends with Gentry on the run once more from just about everyone, but I also suspect the Mexican Tourist Association might now be after Mark Greaney!
(I also saw in the press that Mark Greaney will be assisting (*ahem*) on the next Tom Clancy book and I see this as a strong choice for a very stale series, I'll be buying it for certain!)
The focus then shifts to Mexico and the drug cartels who effectively run everything. Gentry hears that an old friend has died at the hands of a cartel, which leads us to the first of some nicely done flashbacks. These introduce us to an earlier version of the Gray Man and to Eduardo Gamboa who saved his life. Court decides to visit the grave to pay his respects.
And this is where the main story begins. After meeting Gamboa's pregnant wife and sister he decides that he needs to help them battle the cartel who have targeted them for death.
I really enjoyed this book and thought that it just edged in to the area occupied by my gold-standard author, Barry Eisler. The pacing of the book was very good. We hear about Gentry's attacks on the cartel infrastructure mostly from the cartel POV, which has a nice effect of slowing down the story for the end. The end blew it for me. But perhaps not for you. Certainly if you enjoyed the first two books (and I recommend reading them in order, as I do with all series) then this book will not disappoint.
But, for me, the end was weak.
*** SPOILER ALERT ***
So why was the end weak for me? Three things that took me out of the story ...
Court confronts the bad guy with seemingly nothing to bargain with for the release of the girl. Weak.
He has a Glock 18, with half a second of ammunition in the magazine, which he uses as a part of an escape scenario which I found I could not suspend belief for. Weak.
But the worst part was the scene inside the helicopter. The tallest point of the interior of an EC135 is just under 4' 2", just behind the pilot seats. Further back it is 3' 9". The pilot seats reach almost all the way to the roof. In Executive and VIP configurations, even that space does not exist. But, even assuming a more utilitarian setup I don't think even the five foot girl would have got through. Weak.
Then he reached the foot pedal while upside down to stop the rotation? And he was able to bring it to a hover over water at night? And he found the engine switches? Why "land" on water, he had done the hard parts?
I've ranted enough. I have some experience with aircraft, your mileage my vary(!).
I'm still looking forward to the next Gray man book!
[I read a paperback edition (Berkeley Books, October 2011, 467p, Trade) which I bought for my brother and borrowed for this review.]