The Gray Man by Mark Greaney
== Plot synopsis ==
This is the first book in the Court Gentry aka 'The Gray Man' series.
Gentry is a former CIA agent, now working as one of the top assassins for hire.
At the start, we see him completing a job in Iraq and then being pulled out by a rescue team who fly in by plane. They are sent in by his employer.
However, Gentry soon finds out that the rescue team isn't there to get him back home safely, but there to eliminate him.
Martial ling all his lethal skills and experience, he goes on the run, so he can discover who wants him dead and why, and put an end to them before they do the same to him . . .
== My thoughts ==
I found this an enjoyable read. The plot is the basic setup that you find in most conspiracy thriller type novels. If you've read any of Robert Ludlan's novels then you'll most likely be able to guess most of the story right at the start. There's a big conspiracy and you have the CIA, big business and teams of killers all after the hero.
I thought it was competently told though. It's nothing earth shattering and you'll most likely forget it once you've finished reading it but it's fun while it lasts.
I liked the main character of Gentry, who is the typical action hero type character you get in 80's action movies. You know he can get out of any tricky situation. I have to say I never felt that he was in any real danger during any part of the novel, even when the author tried to create suspense ridden situations.
I don't expect to find much character development in these kind of thriller novels but the author manages to flesh out most of the characters that appear, so you can understand their motivations and feelings. The bad guys are painted as suitably bad, and even though Gentry is a killer for hire, he operates on his own set of moral codes, which is demonstrated to us right at the start of the novel.
I have read that this is being adapted for the big screen. They shouldn't have any real problem, as it is written in a cinematic style. It sort of felt like I was watching a movie. Usually, when authors try to write like this it gets annoying, but the author manages to pull it off. I found it easier to imagine the story in my head.
There are some well written action sequences but there could have been a lot more. The main character has to travel across Europe to a certain country, I think France. The bad guys put kill squads all the way from his start point in Turkey, to his final destination. I thought there would be lots of explosions and dead bodies littered in his wake as he makes his way through the various countries. However, there is very limited action set pieces and the ones that are employed, were very reminiscent of ones I've read in other novels including ones by Matthew Reilly.
It also appeared most of the time the main hero got away by luck / circumstance rather than by using his extensive skills / brains.
I feel it could also have been trimmed down in length slightly with the plot being so basic.
== Audio narration and availability ==
This is available for download on the Audible site (www.audible.co.uk). It is selling for £19.69 though; it may be cheaper if you have a subscription to Audible. This is unabridged and is 10 hours and 44 mins in length. It is read by Jay Snyder. I liked his voice and reading style. He has an American accent but it isn't too strong. He is also able to voice all the characters perfectly. I liked the way he was able to do the various accents like upper class English or German accents. This is another reason I liked listening to this audio book; it had a good narrator.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I give this 4 stars. It's not a masterpiece, but it's a bit of light entertainment that is fun and will keep you distracted while you are reading it.