Monday, November 4, 2013

'The Ascendant' by Drew Chapman

I have an angel at Simon & Schuster who sends me boxes of books from time to time.  This book was amongst her latest offerings and it showed up at just the right time.  When I opened the book I found a form letter written by one of the editors giving this book glowing recommendations.  Immediately my "BS" meter clicked on because really, what do you expect an editor to say about a book they worked on?  

That it sucked?  That they should use better discretion when signing new writers?  That the only thing worse would be if Danielle Steele and Nora Roberts collaborated on a new series?  No, you expect them to praise and laud their new author like their the next Roman Emperor. So I'm always wary when I see high praise for a first time author with a new book, even an author who has quite the entertainment resume like Drew.  "Reader beware" right?

Well... not this time.  This time the book matches the praise given.  

Like the editor I couldn't put this book down.  It's blazing fast and it almost feels as if it's written like you aren't supposed to read it slow.  Did you ever wonder what the love child of Danica McKellar and Jason Bourne would be like?  No?  Yeah well... me either.  But for the sake of this review just go along with me.  Garrett Reilly is a numbers genius. Actually that's not entirely true. He's the type of numbers genius that other number geniuses hate. (Along with a majority of us normal intelligence folk).  

But Reilly has another amazing trait that stands out that causes people to hate him, he's a total dick. His intelligence comes with heightened sense of self and he's a master at using it. He has no problem getting into into a bar fight or getting into a barmaid. To him they serve the same purpose. He burns crazy amounts of testosterone while screaming and pumping his... err... fists. But no matter how uninhibited the barmaid or how satisfying the head butt, Reilly's first lust is numbers. 

Unfortunately, like most lustful endeavors, it'll get you in trouble. And Reilly is deep in it. He's seen a sinister numbers pattern in the U.S. treasury as well as something else a bit more ominous. Someone is trying to royally screw with the United States and the U.S. Military needs Reilly's help to track them down. 

Good luck with that.  

Reilly's bad attitude extends to most everything, but nothing faces his ire like the U.S. Military.  Even if one part of the military is a drop dead gorgeous woman with muscles and soft parts in all the right places. But will she use her womanly charms for good or evil?

The different forms of conflict that take place in this book are a thrill to read.  You never really know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy. Well, except for the enemy, we find out who those fools are pretty early. And the enemy in this book is pure-D ruthless.  They are waging a new war against U.S. and for a new war you need a new soldier. Their strikes are done with precision and while our leaders are bickering over who gets credit for what, our enemy is planning another surgical strike. And trust me here people, these strikes are bad. And by bad I mean "whoop-ass"!

Drew is a very good at not holding back when the story dictates a certain path. I enjoy writers who do that.  Now I will mention this; there will be times you will have to suspend a lot of "reality belief" when reading this book. It's not a bad thing per se, but if you read a lot in this genre there are a few places and situations where you're like "dude, seriously?"  BUT... this is a very fast read and the author can't cover every nuance, plus this IS a fictional story so... 

Reilly makes his decision and proceedes to piss off every big wig in our government while the enemy continues to launch more than a few devastating blows.  Part of the story takes place in another country and while you know the story lines will connect, you start to wonder if they'll connect. 

And then they do.  

The action taking place in the U.S. is thrilling enough, but the unrest happening across the ocean could almost be it's own story.  Man, if you think OUR politics and politicians are corrupt, call me after you read this.  

This book was so much fun.  Half geek, half testosterone, all action.

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