Let me start off with the only thing that bothered me. Our protagonist, David Dixon, is so genre savvy that he knows he’s in a thriller novel. Not on a 4th wall breaking sort of way, but I’m his inner monologue he knows all the tropes to avoid. He even refers to the McGuffin as the McGuffin. But for the plot to kick off, he has to hold the idiot ball for the first couple chapters, ignoring sign after sign that something is up. The inconsistency threatened to take me out of the story for the first bit.
But I was able to get past that because Andrew Mayne is great at writing thrillers. It also is in the same mold as The Martian: highly technical with a sarcastic protagonist. Although I’m not the space nerd I once was, I still have a love of space and the tech needed to get up there.
What else is great about this book? It subverts a few thriller tropes. The main female does not have sex with our man. She’s never in need of rescue and she’s incredibly smart. There are lots of great scenes where things go wrong in realistic ways.
When I first published the review yesterday I forgot to mention that Mayne’s short chapter structure is “devastating” for someone like me who suffers from “one more page”, “until the end of the chapter”, etc. It means I often ended up reading for hours when I meant to read for minutes. Because there was always a cliffhanger only a couple pages away it was way too hard to stop.
I bought this book because I got the second book in the series free. I’m very happy I did -this was a blast and would probably make a good movie or premium cable mini-series.