Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Review: HARD ROAD by J.B. Turner

A conspiracy thriller enveloped in a complex web of terror, murder, and mayhem. The body count is as high as the stakes, one man is forced to defend his family and country from a threat which could destroy thousands of lives and send a ripple throughout the globe.
Reznick, an expert at wet work; his handler, the mysterious and never-seen Maddox, is the literal voice of death, his command invokes the reaper with Reznick the very manifestation of murder. A cold and calculated professional, Reznick quickly learns something isn't right when his target becomes the centerpiece of an elaborate plot involving bio-terrorism and a threat that's all too close to home.

HARD ROAD begins as a hitman novel before evolving into a fast paced terror thriller.  For me, the allure of HARD ROAD lies with the earlier portion of the novel. I liked the shroud of mystery that engulfs Reznick's handler and the need-to-know basis of which he operates. That said, once the thrill ride kicks into gear and the multiple plot threads emerge, HARD ROAD doesn't fail to entertain.

The biochemical threat is omnipresent yet it's the multidimensional characters that give the story it's depth and direct sense of reality. FBI Assistant Director Martha Meyerstein is a workaholic, her passion is her job, patriotism is everything. While Reznick, despite his flaws (a perceived kill-first mentality and seeming addition to Dexedrine) is a man on a mission - refreshingly not of the common action-hero stereotype. He not only needs to stop a terrorism plot but has to bring his eleven year old daughter to safety following her abduction at the hands of a group of men linked to the terror threat. 

HARD ROAD establishes, what looks to be, a serious series character who's fractured past and questionable allegiance will appeal to readers, not just those who dabble in the thriller genre. 

As a first up introduction to Reznick, HARD ROAD serves its purpose, the ensemble cast is written in a way as to allow further exploration and future subject matters appear bountiful. I look forward to seeing where J.B. Turner goes from here.


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