Thursday, July 26, 2012

'Black List' by Brad Thor

“All of the technology contained in this novel is based upon systems currently being deployed, or in the final stages of development, by the United States government and its partners.”

… and thus begins ‘Black List’ by Brad Thor.   I have never read a book that started like the opening sentence and have it turn out bad.  This book continues that streak… in spades.  To say this story opens with a shocker would be an unforgiveable understatement, so I’ll just say that you will NOT be prepared for what awaits.  While I’m a huge fan of all of Brad’s work, I haven’t gotten that “special feeling” about one of his books since ‘The Last Patriot’.  Now to be clear for the slow ones (IE: Kindle owners complaining about price), I have loved each and every one of Brad’s books, but every author has one (or two) books in their repertoire  that shines just a little bit brighter than the rest.  Stephen King has ‘The Stand’, Eric Jerome Dickey has ‘The Other Woman’, Steve Alten has ‘Grim Reaper’, Danielle Steele has… (No.  Not a chance), and Brad has ‘Black List’.

This go round, Harvath goes up against a power greater than anything he’s faced yet.  How great?  Well… they have put Harvath on a list of people to be killed.  Usually Harvath is the executer of list such as these but this time, he’s the mouse.  Per se’.  The engineers of this list are a group called the ATS.  This group has so MUCH power, so MUCH influence that it’s rumored that God calls them before he allows it to rain on D.C.  Unfortunately, people who have access to this much power usually don’t have access to morals.  Think of every terrorist attack that you know of, including 9-11, and multiply it by ten, and you might get close to the type of damage the ATS is planning for America.  The only thing that makes it worse is that these are AMERICAN’S that have hatched this plan.

OK actually there is one more thing: (read the first sentence of this review). 

We’d like to think that something like this is only achievable in sci-fi novels.  It’s not.  We’re on the Autobahn toward an attack like this as we speak.  The overall premise to this book is the gathering and use of our digital data.  Text messages, internet searches, GPS, eMails, downloads, everything is being watched.  Everything is being recorded.  Everything is being cataloged.  I know you’re saying that “yeah I’ve heard all this before”.  No.  You haven’t.  Not like this.  This book goes way beyond just being illegally tracked by our government.  This book deals with what would/could happen if the power mongers who paid their way into office decided to make something happen. 

Big Brother is watching, we all know that.  What we don’t know, or don’t care to know, is to what extent?  And what happens if Big Brother is a sadistic, power hungry sibling with an unlimited expense account?  ‘Black List’ tells us what the history is, what the current state is, and what the future will be like if we (the knowing public) continue to be more concerned about the next ‘Words With Friends’ update than the next “internet security” bill being passed. 

This book is blazing fast, even for Thor.  And that’s good because Harvath is being chased something fierce.  When everything we do is monitored is it almost impossible to stay off the grid.  Even more impossible… tracking down the guys controlling the grid who are also teamed up with the guys that are the architectures of the grid.  This is bone fide Brad Thor book with all the globe hopping, covert operations, shady useless politicians, double taps to the head, up close kills, adrenaline on adrenaline, and pulse pounding storytelling that, if it cause my heart to race as I read, it must cause Brad a near heart attack when writing it. 

If the technology written about in this book is true, and I’m 100% sure that it is; so too must be the men and women tasked to use it.  And to protect us from it.  Thank God for them and their love of America.  The proof is in their blood, their sweat, their tears, and their lost lives.  


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