Gray Retribution, by Alan McDermott
No one writes action like McDermott.
From the first sentence, Gray Retribution delivers that combination of action and detail that few writers can manage. Not only does McDermott put us eye-to-eye with his characters, he gets the little things right, like the types of weapons and the way they all work, and the tactics that makes the difference between experienced soldiers and fighters who die on their first time.
Gray Retribution continues the saga of Tom Gray, the character that McDermott created for his first novel, Gray Justice. The initial trilogy told a complete, if complex saga about an ex-special forces soldier who sets up a private security company. Gray uses his arcane skills to seek tough justice against repeat criminals after his son is accidentally killed by one such repeat offender driving a stolen car, and Gray’s wife kills herself in depression.
The next two books sent Gray literally around the world and finally back to his home in the UK, rehabilitated socially if not fully psychologically. The fourth book, Gray Retribution, finds Gray back in charge of his company, struggling against the usual challenges facing any small business—plus clients nervous about being associated with someone as notorious as Tom Gray.
Once again, McDermott skillfully blends a personal and a global plot. Organized criminals threaten Gray’s new family, while in Africa, his friends and employees are caught in a war zone in Africa with scanty ammunition and supplies and a huge number of refugees to protect.
It’s a testament to the author’s skill at plotting that he manages to drive both plots simultaneously at his trademark breathtaking pace, without straining the readers’ credulity too much. The good guys are all crack shots and almost never make mistakes, but that’s part of the action genre. But I found myself identifying with Tom Gray—not because I am a crack soldier, but because I have found myself in those situations with two priorities clamouring for undivided attention because of huge, looming consequences coming up fast. I really felt for Gray as he tried to protect his family, rescue his friends and keep his business afloat, all at the same time.
McDermott’s attention to detail really brings the action to life. While he is never gratuitous with depicting violence, he doesn’t flinch when it comes to the more gruesome aspects of war.
It all adds up to a book I could not put down.
I read a preliminary version of the book in manuscript form, and I’m looking forward to the final version sitting on my shelf.
Gray Retribution will be available on Amazon on July 8.