Top positive review
Though Not Ludlum Quality, a Good Introduction to the Next Generation of Suspense, Action-Adventure Espionage Thrillers
Reviewed in the United States on October 6, 2015
Length: 528 pages.
I bought this book for two primary reasons. I loved Robert Ludlum's many varied novels and characters. The first novel I listened to, on cassette tape, was back during the late 1980's, I think. Possibly even before that. Point is, Ludlum was good at suspense and intrigue, plus excelled at developing characters.
Which brings us to The Patriot Attack, ostensibly a Jason Bourne novel. Be forewarned, this is not a Bourne continuation. Not even remotely a Bourne novel. Strike one.
Another reason I purchased this book was due to my pleasure from a just-released novel concerning Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp. Terrific stand alone that, I surmised, if Kyle Mills could replicate Rapp so well, yet produce a terrific stand alone sequel such as The Survivor, well, maybe I had better read the latest installment of Covert One. What Mills did so well with Rapp, he, uh, fell far short of the mark with The Patriot Attack. Why?
The premise, Japan and China, is a brilliant stroke. What hurt was the initial setting of our heroine, Randi Russell, in Egypt pursuing American-born, Charles Hashem, who is of Iranian descent, At first take, this seemed plausible. Well, except that he is a Muslim named Charles, of Iranian descent, not Arab, set in Egypt.
Despite its implausibility, for me, having lived in Egypt some 15 years and in Libya for another two, plus having spent time in Israel, Palestine and in the Gulf the setting of an Persian in Arabian Egypt was not well executed. But, then, I excused that as just an obligatory initial, get-the-feel sort of transition point to get us set to depart from, to go to the Orient.
And, since I spent a good deal of time in nuclear energy (as a welding inspector) I found it a great idea to base this novel on the aftermath of Japan's quake and tsunami. Brilliant stroke, thought I.
That premise was smart. Remains so. And, the novel actually is well-written so long as one forgets about Jason Bourne and Robert Ludlum and an Iranian terrorist in Egypt.
A bigger mistake, it seems to me, is that Kyle Mills ended it with a stunning twist that may, or may not be, a cliffhanger. It seems to have been written with an eye to a sequel, but not necessarily so. Sort of a teaser ending reminding me of the lady and the tiger...
Having ranted about what I did not enjoy, or at least, what I had to meander through at a snail's pace, my wriggling was actually well worth the effort, as will be seen by the balance of this review.
Randi Russell is an interesting heroine that, I am sure, may become sort of a female Mitch Rapp, if there are actually more Covert One or Jason Bourne novels forthcoming. Perhaps Mills will sedgeway Rapp into a joint venture with Russell and, thereby, put a nail in the coffin, so to speak, in the Ludlum franchise.
And, let's be honest here, Ludlum has been gone so long that it is time to create a fresh legacy in the line, rather than merely milk the legacy for a few dollars more.
Except that The Patriot Attack is a bit fluffier than the story line justifies, and aside from the above noted strikes, this tome is not a strike out. Nor is it a home run. It is something in between these to points. It is worth reading and, I am sure, in time I will buy the audible.com version and enjoy listening to it.
By all means, I do recommend reading this good novel. Bear in mind, though, it is clearly not Ludlum. Nor does it measure up to Ludlum's best work. If you do keep that in mind, I am betting you will find great pleasure in reading Robert Ludlum's The Patriot Attack.
Note: I originally rated this at five stars. After a couple hours thinking it over, I raised the rating to five stars. Why? I think I was a bit too hard on Mills. In part, because Ludlum set such a high standard and, in part, because I was so delighted with his work with Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp that I thought he had done as well replicating one of my other favorite characters, Jason Bourne.
In other words, I wasn't fairly grading Mills's writing of this book.