With an exciting start, Nick Stone regains consciousness whilst plummeting down a hill in a vehicle. He has vomited and his brain is scrambled as a result of a nasty concussion. To begin with he can’t quite recall who he is or what he does, but nonetheless his ex-special forces instincts kick in when he sees some possibly shady individuals. Through self-preservation, McNab cleverly describes how Stone gathers his wits with fractured recall and manages to escape with his life.
Continuing to outrun danger, Stone reaches a car on the Alpine pass where he comes across Frank Timis, a Ukranian oligarch lying face down, dead on top of his son Stefan; his last act clearly to protect his son. Stefan is still alive, and through foggy thoughts, Stone recollects that he had recently been helping Timis in France, but no detail of the reason why.
So Stone takes Stefan with him to protect him, but from who? He has to find out who the enemy is and what this is all about. As young as Stefan is, his father has primed him well and together the pair embark upon what is essentially a close protection quest, whilst Stone hopes to regain his memory and determine what’s going on.
It transpires that there is a resurgent Russian Empire and with a wide search for the boy, Stone must evade the elite police forces of three nations and become a lone wolf to take on a terrorist, whose activities have far reaching consequences. As the body count increases this becomes more and more about vengeance.
This is McNab’s 17th Nick Stone novel and he reliably delivers a fast paced, high octane thriller as he always does. The memory loss does allow for some plot gaps to be dusted over and much of the dialogue centres on Stone and the boy. Some characters seem to disappear from the story for no apparent reason, but the rapidness of the events and unfolding of the story line make this acceptable. Although a tough character, the relationship between Stone and the boy is engaging and kind-hearted. The boy arguably copes too well with the situation he’s faced with, but hey, this is action-packed thriller fiction and as such this type of book is more about taking the fastest, most direct route to the denouement. The ending is perhaps a little rushed, but followers of the book should be pleased with what is otherwise another solid read.
Detonator by Andy McNab
978-0593073780|Bantam Press hbk Oct 2015